Lakers at Denver Nuggets preview

Wesley Johnson

Lakers forward Wesley Johnson, right, tries to drive past Denver Nuggets forward Danilo Gallinari during a game on Feb. 10.

(Jae C. Hong / Associated Press)

After falling to the Clippers (53-26) on Tuesday night at Staples Center, the Lakers have a quick turnaround, traveling to Denver to visit the Denver Nuggets (28-49) on Wednesday.

The Nuggets, like the Lakers, will not make the playoffs this season.

Former Lakers guard Brian Shaw was fired as head coach in March, replaced in the interim by Melvin Hunt.

They’ll be without Jameer Nelson (hip), while Darrell Arthur is doubtful (calf). Point guard Ty Lawson (arm) is probable.


Wayne Ellington (shoulder), Nick Young (knee), Ronnie Price (elbow), Kobe Bryant (shoulder) and Julius Randle (knee) are all done for the season.

Key matchup

If Lawson plays, the Lakers will have a challenge dealing with Denver’s leading scorer (15.4 points a game) and playmaker (9.5 assists).

Jordan Clarkson just worked through a difficult pair of games against Chris Paul and the Clippers. The team swarmed Clarkson on the pick and roll, but after struggling on Sunday with just two points and three assists, the rookie notched 20 points and six assists Tuesday.


The Nuggets are not nearly the same defensive unit -- Clarkson may have a big game in Denver Wednesday.


Forward Kenneth Faried is an energy player for the Nuggets. On the season, he’s averaging 12.0 points and 8.8 rebounds a game.

With the Lakers on a back-to-back, Faried might be a lot to handle for what could be a fatigued Lakers’ squad.

Veterans Jordan Hill and Carlos Boozer were held out Tuesday. Perhaps Coach Byron Scott play the pair, presumably with fresher legs, instead of Ed Davis and Robert Sacre.


The Lakers should be capable of beating the Nuggets, but the late night of travel combined with the high altitude of Denver may lead to a Lakers fade down the stretch.

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


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