Denver Nuggets (W):
A team that was 46-24 heading into the game against the Lakers, the Nuggets have been a team that has sat in and around the number 3 spot in the West all season. Denver could very easily be a possible Conference Finals match-up for LA.
Their fourth match-up this season saw the Lakers take a 124-121 victory thanks to a game-winning 3 from Kyle Kuzma, a shot that left 0.4 seconds on the clock. The Lakers won the game thanks to their elite offense, as James contributed 29 points and 12 assists, Davis tallied 27 points, and Kuzma had 25 points.
Kuzma the Starter: In only his 9th start this season Kuzma played 33 minutes and scored 25 points on 11/16 shooting from the field, a true ‘third star’ display from the Utah product. When James, Davis and Kuzma are on the floor they have a net rating of +14.7 this season. When we take into account the fact that Kuz is another reliable ball-handling option to take the pressure off James. He may be a crucial part of LA’s assault on an NBA championship.
Inconsistent Defense: The Lakers gave up 121 points in this one as they scored 124. A team like the Lakers can’t head into the playoffs and be satisfied with having to score 124 points to edge a tight win. This season the Lakers average 113.3 PPG. If they cant defend effectively and slow the other teams scoring down, they will struggle to win a game just on shear offensive firepower.