Denver Nuggets @ Los Angeles Lakers – Friday November 29, 2012 10:30PM EST
The Western Conference is a weird place so far in this 2012-2013 season. The betting experts see a team like the Denver Nuggets with a record of 8-7 holding down second place in the Northwest Division. Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Lakers have a 7-8 record and is struggling to stay in third place in the Pacific Division. There seems to be a huge gap between the teams at the top of the Western Conference and the teams at the bottom. That gap will probably close as the season goes on, but it is interesting to see which teams have started the season struggling.
The sports betting experts keep waiting for Mike D’Antoni to make a huge difference with the Lakers and, so far, the difference is not very noticeable. The Lakers have a 1-4 record on the road and everyone knows that a playoff team has to win on the road. This game is at home for Los Angeles, where the Lakers have a 6-4 record. Home is also where the Lakers has been showing the most significant improvement in the past few games. The Nuggets pose just enough of a threat to make this game a good indicator of how far the Lakers has come and how far it has yet to go.
The Nuggets has played most of its games on the road this season and has amassed a 4-6 road record. The sports betting sites note that Andre Iguodala has done more than his fair share to get the Nuggets to this point, and he is getting some help from the rest of the starting lineup. But Denver would like to see more production out of its bench in order to feel a bit more secure about the future. As soon as the starters step off the floor for Denver, the games start to slip away.
Los Angeles Lakers
The thing that the sportsbook experts love about Kobe Bryant is that he is consistent from season to season. Despite a poor showing by the Lakers this season, Bryant is still averaging almost 27 points per game. The only Los Angeles starter not in double digits for average points per game is Darius Morris. But there is enough going on with the rest of the Lakers’ lineup that the team can absorb the pedestrian play of players like Morris. Morris is just holding a roster spot for Steve Nash anyways, so his performance is right where it needs to be. At some point, this Los Angeles team will start to put together wins and make a run to the top of the Western Conference standings.
The Bottom Line
The Lakers need a home game like this against the Nuggets to get its confidence back. It will be a slow process in Los Angeles, but Mike D’Antoni will build a winner.
Click here to read more about the Lakers’ changes in the offseason.
Pick: Los Angeles Lakers