After a resounding victory at Staples Center on Tuesday night, the Los Angeles Lakers hopped on a flight to Denver and arrived at their hotel at 3:25 am local time. Tip off at the Pepsi Center against the Denver Nuggets is 6:00 pm, so the NBA is not doing the Lakers any scheduling favors early this season.
Even with the altitude and the travel, the Lakers have a good shot at winning their first back-to-back of the season. The Nuggets have failed to impress this season, and Denver is third from the bottom in the Western Conference. Prior to beating the winless Utah Jazz, the Nuggets were 1-4 on the season with a narrow home victory over the Atlanta Hawks.
Even the Mile High home court advantage cannot provide wins for this team, as the Nuggets started the season 0-2 at home before the win over the Hawks.
Although the Lakers are only 1-3 on the road thus far, LA has been trending in the right direction and displayed positive signs both at home and away. Coming off a blowout victory over the New Orleans Pelicans, Mike D’Antoni has a lineup that seems to put the team in balance, meaning the Lakers enter Wednesday settled into roles. Even if it is only for a night, no one on the team is confused about where he fits in.
With Steve Nash on the shelf, the Lakers are better equipped to guard opposing point guards, and Denver has one of the best in the league.
Ty Lawson is averaging 21.7 points per game and 7.3 assists per game this season. Last season, Lawson was the key to the Nuggets’ 3-1 head-to-head record against the Lakers. In the Nuggets’ three wins, Lawson averaged 20.0 points and 10.7 assists. In the lone loss, Lawson only managed nine points and five assists. If Steve Blake and the Lakers can slow down Lawson, they should be able to fly back from Colorado with a win.
This is a winnable game for the Lakers and a chance to return to .500.
Tip-off for the Lakers at Nuggets is 6 pm PST.