Preview: Lakers at Denver Nuggets

Lakers look to reverse a November overtime loss to the Nuggets on Tuesday night in Denver

The Lakers (9-22) have lost three straight games to fall four back of the Nuggets (13-18), whom they'll visit in Denver on Tuesday night.

The two teams previously met in late November at Staples Center. Kobe Bryant scored 27 points and Jeremy Lin added 17, but the Nuggets pulled away in overtime, 101-94.

Ty Lawson was a major issue for the Lakers, scoring 18 points with 16 assists.

The Lakers will be without Ryan Kelly (hamstring), Steve Nash (back) and Julius Randle (leg) on Tuesday. Danilo Gallinari (knee) and JaVale McGee (leg) are out for the Nuggets. Randy Foye has also sat out games recently with a quad injury.

Key matchup

Lawson drives the Denver offense, both as scorer and playmaker.

The Lakers failed to contain him in November. They'll need to find a way to slow him on Tuesday, as his teammates all benefit from Lawson's creation.

The more attention the Lakers place on the Denver point guard, the more shooters like Arron Afflalo and Wilson Chandler, along with big men Timofey Mozgov and Kenneth Faried, will find open shots.

Ronnie Price is an experienced defender, but he can't match Lawson on the offensive end.

Jeremy Lin could prove to be a valuable contributor, on both sides of the ball.


Mozgov always seems to raise his level of play against the Lakers.  In November, he notched a double-double with 13 points and 13 rebounds in just over 30 minutes on the court.

The Lakers did a solid job holding both Faried and McGee in check, but Mozgov was more of a problem.

Carlos Boozer sat out the last meeting, with a shoulder injury.  The Lakers will have Jordan Hill, Ed Davis, Robert Sacre and Boozer to counter Mozgov and the other Denver bigs.

Coach Byron Scott said he didn't expect to play newcomer Tarik Black against the Nuggets, choosing instead to hold him out until he got a practice or two under his belt.


The Nuggets have been an inconsistent team this year. The Lakers may be able to steal one on the road, but that may be a stretch.

Email Eric Pincus at and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus.

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