NBA playoffs betting: L.A. Lakers at Denver Nuggets, Game 3
No team in NBA history has comeback from a 3-0 deficit to win a playoff series, but that’s what will be facing the Denver Nuggets on Friday night as their Western Conference quarterfinal series with the L.A. Lakers shifts to the Mile High City. The Nugs are 4-point favorites at WagerWeb.com.
Game 1 of this series was a mismatch, but the Nuggets were better in Game 2’s 104-100 loss. Los Angeles’ 19-point lead in the third quarter dwindled to four with 3 minutes to play, but Ramon Sessions scored four key points in the final 1:14 before Kobe Bryant’s icing free throws with 9.4 seconds left. Kobe finished with 38 points for his 83rd career 30-point game of his postseason career, second-most all-time behind Michael Jordan (109).
Andrew Bynum followed up his triple-double with a career playoff-high 27 points and nine rebounds. Pau Gasol had 13 points, 10 rebounds and five assists for the third-seeded Lakers, who still haven’t trailed in two games. Lakers F Metta World Peace served the third game of his seven-game suspension.
For Denver, point guard Ty Lawson shook his terrible Game 1 with 17 second-half points, but the sixth-seeded Nuggets lost their ninth straight road playoff game. Kenneth Faried had 14 points and 10 rebounds while Danilo Gallinari and Corey Brewer added 13 points apiece. The Nuggets had 30 fast-break points but just couldn’t handle Bynum and Gasol down low.
Denver’s transition game is fueled by Lawson and Brewer, but the Nuggets have to tighten things up on defense, force Bryant to take tougher shots and clear out Bynum underneath.
Coach George Karl spent Wednesday and Thursday preaching about correcting the little things.
“My talk was about rebounding and taking care of the paint more than it’s about Bynum and Kobe,” Karl said. “We can figure out situations, but we can’t give up lay-ups as much as we’ve been giving them up and we can’t give them second shots. We have to get more conscience about rebounding the ball after we make stops. Our defensive stops on first shots is pretty good.”
Denver also needs more from Al Harrington, who is only 8-for-27 from the floor in the series and averaging 10.5 points — well under his regular-season average of 14.2. The apex of his frustration through the first two games probably came in the third quarter of the Nuggets’ Game 2 loss when Bryant chased him down and blocked a would-be dunk from behind.
The Nuggets won their lone game against the Lakers at the Pepsi Center this season, and Denver was 20-13 at home in the lockout-shortened campaign