Denver Nuggets Can Wrap Up Playoff Spot With Win Over Favored Lakers Sunday
April 3, 2011 – By Scott
The run that the Los Angeles Lakers have been on since the All-Star break has been unbelievable. Before the break, they were riding a three-game skid and found themselves in third place in the Western Conference. Since then, they have gone 17-1, including a nine game winning streak. And now they sit just 1 1/2 games behind the San Antonio Spurs for the conference lead as they head into their matchup with the Denver Nuggets on Sunday afternoon at the Staples Center.
Los Angeles (55-20) has had help gaining ground on San Antonio with the Spurs losing in their last three games. Additionally, they have gotten 31.6 points per game from Kobe Bryant in their last five games.
Another fact that stands out is the Lakers’ dominance on the defensive side of the court. They are holding their opponents to just 43.3 percent shooting and 93.9 points during their win streak.
“We want to win each game,” said Bryant. “We’re playing really well and we want to try and keep it going and see where we end up.”
As for the Nuggets (46-29), they can wrap up a spot in the playoffs with a win on Sunday or a Houston loss. Denver is riding a five game winning streak heading into their matchup with the Lakers and is also thriving on great defensive efforts. They are holding their opponents during this five game span to just 95.2 points per game and 42.1 percent shooting. Accompany this defensive effort with their league-leading 107.5 points per game and this should showcase a great game with the NBA‘s hottest team. Head coach George Karl realizes what a tough four-game stretch awaits his team which also includes games with Oklahoma City and Dallas.
“We get to play the next four games with some aggressiveness and pride,” said Karl. “We’ve had a hell of a run. The next four games are playoff games in the regular season against great teams and we’ll have to improve and find out how good we are.”
NBA sportsbooks have the Lakers favored by 7 at home against Denver on Sunday. The OVER/UNDER is set at 200.