Photo: Jae C. Hong – Associated Press
The Nuggets will look to duplicate their last performance against the Lakers when they proved victorious just under a week ago.
When the Nuggets visit the Staples Center on Tuesday night there will be plenty of things at stake. The Nuggets are looking to keep pace in the Western Conference playoff standings, while a rivalry is also brewing between the two teams. The teams last two matchups have produced fireworks as Jamal Murray dribbled around Lonzo Ball in early December, and then Murray made Luke Walton upset in last weeks game.
Luke Walton cussing out Jamal Murray at the end of the game. pic.twitter.com/AoXxETo7e2
— Scott Charlton (@Scott_Charlton) March 10, 2018
Putting the two teams animosity aside, this matchup will be a tough game for the Nuggets as the Lakers have played strong basketball as of late. The Lakers are 7-2 in their last nine games and those two losses came against the Trail Blazers and the Nuggets. Lonzo Ball has been one of the catalysts in the Lakers strong play and is now averaging 10.5 points, seven assists, and 6.9 rebounds per game. Ball is also averaging 1.7 steals per game and has made a three-pointer in seven straight games. Isaiah Thomas has played great as well and is coming off a game where he scored 20 points and dished out nine assists in a Lakers victory over the Cavaliers.
The West has taken quite the spin since the Nuggets last played on Sunday against the Kings. Even though the Nuggets dismantled the Kings, they are still in ninth and are now tied record wise with the Jazz and Spurs. By virtue of tiebreakers, the Nuggets are behind the Jazz, but still ahead of the Spurs. With a record of 37-30, every game the Nuggets play down the stretch is that much more important as one loss could prove costly in the standings. Even though the Lakers have played well lately, this needs to be a game the Nuggets win if they want to be a playoff team at seasons end.
The player to spotlight on Tuesday night will be Jamal Murray. “The Blue Arrow” bleeds confidence whenever he’s playing against the Lakers and is averaging 20 points and 4.3 assists versus the Lakers so far this season. In the two teams matchup last week Murray scored 22 points and dished out eight assists in the Nuggets victory. Along with Murray, Gary Harris will be another player to watch as he’s upped his scoring average to 17.8 points per game and still leads the Nuggets in that category. Harris is shooting over 48 percent from the field and over 40 percent from beyond the arc. The ability for the Nuggets two starting guards to score will be big factors if the Nuggets are able to leave Hollywood on Tuesday night with a big road victory over the Lakers.
Stay tuned to Dig In Denver for postgame coverage of the Nuggets and Lakers.