NBA Playoff Predictions 2012: Los Angeles Lakers vs. Denver Nuggets, Game 3 Preview

Los Angeles Lakers at Denver Nuggets
Friday, 5/4/12, 10:30 PM EST, TV:  ESPN
Opening Point Spread:  Denver -3.5
Current Betting Line:  Denver -4
Opening Total:  204
Current Total:  204
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

The Los Angeles Lakers are two wins away from advancing to the Western Conference semifinals

Los Angeles has managed to break the century mark offensively in winning the first two games of this best-of-seven Western Conference first-round series, including a 104-100 victory as 5.5-point home favorites on Tuesday night.  The Lakers were led offensively by star guard Kobe Bryant pouring in 38 points, which followed up a solid performance in netting 31 in Game 1.  “I feel great,” commented Bryant after the latest triumph.  “We’re doing fine, playing well.”  Los Angeles is 11-21 ATS on the road this year, with the “under” going 18-15 in that situation.

The Lakers have managed to win 19-of-23 postseason games against the Nuggets, which includes an 8-2 mark when playing in the Mile High City.  Los Angeles is also getting tremendous production out of All-Star center Andrew Bynum, scoring 27 points of his own in Game 2.  The 65 combined points between Bryant and Bynum were the most they’ve ever scored together in a postseason game.  The franchise is 42-1 all-time in series play after winning the first two games of a best-of-seven series.

Denver has lost five of six overall meetings with Los Angeles when including the regular season this year, with the lone victory coming in a 99-90 win as 5.5-point home favorites on Jan. 1.  Forward Danilo Gallinari led a group of six players scoring in double figures that night, pouring in 20 points on 7 of 16 shooting from the floor.  Total players will definitely take notice that the “under” cashed with ease in both games at the Pepsi Center this year.  Denver is 4-7 ATS as a home favorite of 3.5 to 6 points, with the “under” going 8-3 in that situation.

The Nuggets definitely need to push the pace in hopes of getting back into this series, leading the NBA in averaging 104.1 points per game during the regular season.  Denver managed to score 100 points in its latest lost, but it was the only time its reach the century mark in the last eight meetings.  The locker room will need to draw some energy from the home crowd, but it likely won’t matter due to the franchise losing all five previous playoff series against tonight’s opponent.

Bettors will likely back the Lakers due to their 6-0 ATS mark as a road underdog of 4.5 or fewer points, while the Nuggets are 1-3-1 ATS in their last five playoff games as a favorite in that point range.

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