Denver Nuggets (15-17 SU, 13-18-1 ATS)
Over the course of their last 14 games the Denver Nuggets have struggled to do what they are known for doing - shooting the lights out. They went 3-11 during that span and saw their offensive production dip into the danger zone as they averaged just 93.4 points per game on 41.5% shooting from the field. They are now a middling 15th in the league in points scored, averaging a pedestrian 100.3 PPG.
However, the Nuggets found a way to shake off that funk on Friday night as they hosted the Memphis Grizzlies and came away with a 111-108 decision courtesy of 53.8% shooting and an 18-point performance from point guard Ty Lawson. Though the Nuggets got the victory it was not easy as Lawson drained a trey with under a minute left to clinch the game but Denver once again disappointed their backers at the windows by failing to cover the four-point impost in NBA odds.
Denver will be without the services of backup point guard Andre Miller who engaged in a very public verbal altercation with head coach Brian Shaw in the closing minutes of a stunning 114-102 loss to the Philadelphia 76'ers where Denver was ticketed as nine-point home chalk in NBA odds. That public display of immaturity has temporarily cost Miller a few games out of uniform and it appears as though he will not return to action until Denver's meeting with the Celtics on Tuesday night.
Los Angeles Lakers (14-19 SU, 18-14-1 ATS)
The Lakers have been ravaged by injuries this season but there may just be a small silver lining to all of their travails. LA, desperate for warm bodies signed Kendall Marshall, the 13th pick in the 2012 NBA draft, to their squad and gave him a start after Jordan Farmar reinjured himself. All Marshall did was drop 20 points and grab 15 boards en route to LA's 110-99 victory over the Utah Jazz on Friday night.
LA was mired in a six-game slide before they got the job done against Utah but it will be another edition of next man up for the Lakers as head coach Mike D'Antoni has had to mix and match more pieces to his lineup than a jigsaw puzzle. LA continues to give up too many points to be competitive, particularly when one considers that all their firepower is sitting in street clothes watching the games instead of playing in them. But once February rolls around, the sick and the wounded should be returning. But as of right now, it's one game at a time.
Free NBA Pick:
If the Nuggets have truly broken out of their scoring slump then this should be a relatively easy road victory (if there is such a thing). The Lakers meanwhile are limping through each game, waiting until the day their superstars return.
When last these two teams met back on November 13th Denver had little trouble dispatching LA as they rolled to a 111-99 home win as nine-point favorites in NBA odds. That was Denver's fourth consecutive win and ATS cover over LA and I don't see that trend changing until the Lakers get healthy.
This should be a relatively high scoring affair with neither team playing particularly well in their own zone so you may want to consider a slight lean on Over 203 ½ in your NBA picks as well as a wager on Denver -2 ½ at Bet365.com.