NBA Playoffs 2012: Los Angeles Lakers vs. Denver Nuggets, Game 4 Preview

Los Angeles Lakers at Denver Nuggets
Sunday, 5/6/12, 9:30 PM EST, TV:  TNT
Opening Point Spread:  Denver -2.5
Current Betting Line:  Denver -2.5
Opening Total:  201
Current Total:  201.5
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

Los Angeles Lakers C Andrew Bynum needs to get off to a faster start in Game 4

Los Angeles stumbled in the Mile High City in dropping a 99-84 decision as 3.5-point road underdogs in Game 3 of its best-of-seven Western Conference series against Denver.  The Lakers were unable to recover from a 16-point first-quarter deficit, especially with center Andrew Bynum missing all three of his shots from the field before the break.  He still finished with 18 points and 12 rebounds, while star guard Kobe Bryant led the team in totaling 22 points.  Los Angeles is 6-1 ATS as a road underdog of 4.5 or fewer points.

The Lakers won the first two games of their playoff series against the Nuggets at the Staples Center, but may struggle to pick up a victory at the Pepsi Center due to their 15-18 regular-season record on the road.  Los Angeles should still have plenty of confidence knowing its 42-1 all-time when winning the first two games of a best-of-seven series.  The team is definitely missing Metta World Peace at the small forward spot due to his seven-game suspension, as Matt Barnes and Devin Ebanks combined to shoot 4-for-14 from the floor on Friday night.

Denver is still just 5-19 all-time against Los Angeles in the postseason despite the recent victory, which includes a 3-8 home record.  The Nuggets jumped out to a 38-14 lead and never looked back, something the coaching staff stressed in the locker room.  “All the bad games we played throughout the whole year, we didn’t play good because of our starts,” stated Nuggets forward Danilo Gallinari.  He contributed to the cause in finishing with 13 points and six rebounds in Game 3.  Denver is 2-2 ATS as a home favorite of three points or less.

The Nuggets will need another huge effort from point guard Ty Lawson, who scored 25 points and dished out seven assists, as he’s averaging 19.0 points and 5.3 assists in the series.  Denver out-rebounded Los Angeles by a 54-44 margin, which was the franchise’s most rebounds in a playoff game since May 18, 1994.  It’s still important to note that the team is averaging just 90.6 points in the first three games, which is far less than the 104.1 points it scored during the regular season.

Bettors will likely back the Lakers due to their 6-4 ATS mark after a double-digit loss, while the Nuggets are just 22-22 ATS as a favorite.

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