Lakers odds have Kobe Bryant and his squad as an underdog in a critical Game 6 showdown at the Pepsi Center in Denver, where the Nuggets have been great all season long. However, they showed some chinks in their armor in Game 5, and the Lakers smell blood.
NBA Odds – Nuggets -4.5, Friday, May 29, 9:00 PM ET
The Nuggets lost their bite in the fourth quarter of a 103-94 loss at Staples Center, and the criticism starts at the top with George Karl. The Denver coach wanted to let his team play through an 11-0 run to start the fourth quarter, leaving Carmelo Anthony on the bench. Anthony was the only Nugget who could seem to get it going, scoring a game-high 31 points and he played well when he came on, but it was too late and the Lakers had the momentum already. Chauncey Billups and Kenyon Martin dropped 12 each for the Nuggets, who shot 38.6% from the floor and missed 17 of their 24 three-point attempts.
Kobe Bryant had scored 30 or more in four straight, and Denver played him accordingly. But while he had seven turnovers, last year’s MVP also had eight assists to go with his 22 points, and he was more than willing to play the decoy. The Lakers made it a point to get into the post after Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom wondered why they weren’t getting more touches. The two combined for 33 points, 24 boards and nine blocks as they had their way with the Nuggets’ frontcourt. If there was a negative for the Lakers, it was that they shot 3-of-16 from beyond the arc, but that is even more reason to keep feeding the big guys in the post.
Lakers odds have made Los Angeles a 4.5-point underdog on the road, but they’ve already won Game 3 at the Pepsi Center, which will give them some confidence despite a 19-point loss in Game 4. The Nuggets killed themselves in Game 5 with some poor coaching decisions, and that worked its way through the team. The Lakers should stick with the inside gameplan, especially on the road, and the bench needs to be as good as they were in Game 5 because Denver’s reserves will have the crowd backing them. Still, experience trumps all.
Bet Online NBA pick: Lakers