Nuggets’ Renewed Defense Will Hold Down Scoring Tuesday Vs. Lakers

lakers

Jordan Sharp

Monday, November 26, 2018 7:26 PM UTC

Monday, Nov. 26, 2018 7:26 PM UTC

In one of the better NBA matchups of the night, the Lakers face a Nuggets team that has won three straight. Coming off a bad loss to the Magic, can the visiting Lakers bounce back and cover the spread?

Los Angeles Lakers (11-8 SU, 7-12 ATS) at Denver (13-7 SU, 11-9 ATS)Tuesday, 9 p.m. ET (NBA TV)Free NBA Pick: 'Under'Best Line Offered: BetOnline

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The Nuggets have some notable wins over their last few games and they have done it with their defense. Now at home against LeBron James and the Lakers, can the Nuggets slow down James and make this one a half-court contest?

Big-Game Atmosphere

Something often discounted in NBA regular-season basketball, even by myself at times, is a big-game atmosphere. Whether it’s a team like the Warriors or Lakers coming to town, or two desperate teams doing battle, you can feel that atmosphere in the way the game plays.

With the Lakers coming to town and the Nuggets riding a small wave of success, neither one of these teams wants to lose this game. The Nuggets have had the luxury of rest after their win in Oklahoma City. They have had a full two days off for this primetime game on national television, while the Lakers have gotten a day to stew on their loss to the Magic, derailing some of their momentum.

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Denver Nuggets started 9-1, w/ defense that was perplexingly great. Then they went 1-6, w/ defense that was bad again. Here's why Nuggets - winners of last 2 & playing at OKC tonight - are actually closer to that 9-1 version than the 1-6. @CBSSportsNBA: https://t.co/A7ft3kTyrn

— Reid Forgrave (@ReidForgrave) November 24, 2018
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Harris' Status Key

The big question mark for this game will be the status of Gary Harris. Arguably Denver's second-most important player behind Nikola Jokic, Harris missed Saturday’s game on the second night of a back-to-back.

Harris said earlier on Saturday that he was going to play, but he ended up being held out by the team, it appears. If he is ready and able to play on Tuesday, the Nuggets are surely going to hold some value in this one. However, Harris has struggled with injuries in the past, and if he is in danger of missing this game, the Lakers could be a much better play. The Nuggets go from averaging 117.1 points per 100 possessions when Harris is on the court, to 112.9 when he is off it this year.

The Sharp Pick

Even if Harris misses the game, the Nuggets have the ability to win this one. However, a better play might be parlaying the Nuggets’ recent defensive successes into an "under" play. Denver is 13-6-1 cashing the "under" this season. While they have only cashed the "under" at 6-5 when playing at the Pepsi Center, they are 9-2-1 cashing "under" the total against the Western Conference this season.

With the Lakers in town and the donkeys betting on the game because it’s on TV, the "under" is where the sharp money should be in this one. With how well the Nuggets have played on defense lately, and being at home, I’m putting my money there for Tuesday night’s game.

Score Prediction: Nuggets 106, Lakers 103
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