Lakers at Nuggets: 3 Things to Know (2/12/20)

by Joey Ramirez
Digital Reporter

Here is what you need to know before the Lakers face the Denver Nuggets in their last game before the All-Star Break.

1) Best in the West
Heading into All-Star, the Lakers (40-12) and Nuggets (38-16) currently sit in first and second place in the Western Conference, with their head-to-head series tied at one game apiece.

The Lakers took the first meeting in Denver, thanks to matching 25-point nights from LeBron James and Anthony Davis — plus a defense that held the Nuggets to 96 points. But with James injured for the rematch, even 32 points from AD couldn’t bring in another win.

We’ll see who gains the upper hand in this next battle between elite two-way teams, as the Lakers rank second in offensive rating (113.4) and fifth in defensive rating (106.2), while Denver is seventh on offense (112.0) and 10th on defense (108.0).

2) Guiding the second unit
Rajon Rondo is coming off his most impressive game of the season, having dropped a personal-best 23 points, plus six assists and only one turnover, in Monday’s win over Phoenix.

Rondo was in attack mode all night long, hitting 9-of-13 from the field. When the Suns dared him to shoot, he made them pay by cashing 4-of-5 beyond the arc.

But he was also deep into his bag of tricks, attacking off the dribble with some of his signature verve.

3) Nuggets on a roll
Denver has won four straight and has looked mighty impressive doing so.

Nikola Jokic is back to playing All-NBA level ball, having averaged 24.9 points, 11.4 rebounds and 8.4 assists in his last four games. He’s also up to second among centers in scoring.

But the Joker is far from the only Nugget catching heat lately. Jamal Murray has been lethal from deep since returning from injury, putting up 28.3 points and hitting 48.4% from deep in his last four. Look for Danny Green — who helped the Lakers hold Devin Booker to 10 points last game — to draw the assignment on Murray.

Injury Report
Anthony Davis (right index finger sprain) is probable. DeMarcus Cousins (right knee rehabilitation) is out.
Nuggets: P.J. Dozier (right hip/trunk contusion) is probable. Will Barton (right knee inflammation), Michael Porter Jr. (right ankle injury), Mason Plumlee (right cuboid injury) and Bol Bol (left foot injury management) are out.

Tip-Off: 7 p.m. PT
TV: Spectrum SportsNet locally, ESPN nationally
Radio: 710 ESPN and 1330 Tu Liga
Unis: Purple Statement
Location: Pepsi Center — Denver, Colorado

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