Denver Nuggets vs Los Angeles Lakers Prediction 05-20-2023 NBA Picks

Peter TranMay 19, 2023
Denver Nuggets vs Los Angeles Lakers Prediction 05-20-2023 NBA Picks player photo
Credit: USA Today Sports

The series shifts to the Arena where the Los Angeles Lakers host to the Denver Nuggets in Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals on Saturday night.

The Denver Nuggets will be gunning for a 3-0 series lead after taking down the Lakers in a thrilling 108-103 win in Game 2 on Thursday. Jamal Murray got off to a slow start, but he poured in 23 points in the fourth quarter to finish with 37 points, 10 rebounds and five assists, Nikola Jokic racked up a triple-double of 23 points with 17 rebounds and 12 assists while Michael Porter Jr. chipped in with 16 points on five of 10 shooting. As a team, the Nuggets shot just 43 percent from the field and 14 of 38 from the 3-point line as they struggled to find their offense outside of Jokic for a majority of the contest to trail by 11 points, before they dominated the fourth quarter to escape with the narrow win thanks to a late flurry from Murray.

Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Lakers will be kicking themselves after coming up short on Thursday despite leading for most of the contest. LeBron James led the team with 22 points, nine rebounds, 10 assists and four steals, Austin Reaves added 22 points of his own, Rui Hachimura provided 21 points off the bench on eight of 10 shooting while Anthony Davis chipped in with 18 points, 14 rebounds and four blocks. As a team, the Lakers shot 43 percent from the field and eight of 30 from the 3-point line as they kept the Nuggets in check and led for most of the contest, until the fourth quarter where they just couldn’t find their offense. Dennis Schroder had a rough night as he scored just four points on two of nine shooting off the bench while Anthony Davis shot just four of 15 from the field while committing four turnovers.

Looking at the betting trends, the Lakers are 0-3-1 ATS in their last four Conference Finals games and 11-4 ATS in their last 15 games against a team with a winning record. The Lakers are 6-0 ATS in their last six home games, 19-7 ATS in their last 26 games following a loss and 5-1 ATS in their last six games overall.

Head to head, the over is 30-14-2 in the last 46 meetings overall, the Nuggets are 1-5 ATS in the last six meetings in Los Angeles and the Nuggets are 1-4 ATS in the last five meetings overall.

The Nuggets will be brimming with confidence after winning the first two games to hold onto their home-court advantage, but they haven’t been able to get nearly the same scoring from their reserves on the road where they have lost three of five in these playoffs so far. The Lakers will be annoyed that they weren’t able to get the split on the road, but they will take plenty of confidence from the fact that they almost beat the Nuggets on Thursday, despite a poor game from Davis who will surely bounce back at home at some stage. I still have this series going to at least six games, so I’ll lean towards the Lakers bouncing back with a win and cover in this spot.

Peter Tran's Free Pick:Los Angeles -5.5
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