- The Denver Nuggets claimed a must-win Game 3 on Tuesday against the Los Angeles Lakers
- Holding a 2-1 series lead, the Lakers remain heavy favorites ahead of Game 4
- Get the latest odds, betting discussion and a pick below
Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals tips off on Thursday as the Denver Nuggets look to avoid falling 3-1 behind for a third consecutive series. After an Anthony Davis buzzer-beater in Game 2, the Lakers lost Game 3 as Denver dug deep.
Denver is 7-2 ATS in their last nine games, as they continue to show immense resilience. A fourth quarter run by the Lakers, when the Nuggets had led by as many as 20, made it a tight game late in the fourth quarter.
Under pressure, Denver once again came out on top. This series is beautifully poised ahead of Thursday’s matchup.
The latest Los Angeles Lakers vs Denver Nuggets odds have the Lakers as six-point favorites, as can be seen in the table below.
Los Angeles Lakers vs Denver Nuggets Game 4 Odds
|Los Angeles Lakers||-6 (-110)||-250||O 214.5 (-110)|
|Denver Nuggets||+6 (-110)||+205||U 214.5 (-110)|
Odds taken from DraftKings on September 23rd
Jerami Grant Steps Up
With the unenviable task of matching LeBron James’ minutes, Jerami Grant didn’t have much impact in the first two games of the series. Grant was held to 24 minutes in Game 2 amid a blowout and foul trouble – he made six of his first 15 shots in the series and hasn’t shot the ball well throughout the playoffs.
It all changed on Tuesday, though, as the former Thunder forward knocked down a couple of threes on his way to a spectacular two-way performance.
James shot 60% when Grant guarded him. While that doesn’t sound great, it isn’t an accurate reflection of how difficult Grant made it for the four-time MVP. James was able to score easily on several other Denver players – having Grant at least slow him down set the foundations for a solid team defensive performance.
He took the Anthony Davis assignment in the second half when Michael Malone went small and held his own against the All-NBA forward.
Jerami Grant came up huge tonight.
He guarded LeBron or AD the whole game. pic.twitter.com/MJMS02ua54
— StatMuse (@statmuse) September 23, 2020
Where plus-defense is an expectation from Grant, 26 points on 64% shooting is not. He was that all-important third scoring option for Denver in Game 3, and he was more involved in the offense than in previous games, willing to drive to the basket and challenge the defense in ways he hasn’t for most of these playoffs.
A night like that is unlikely to be repeated, but smart cutting, driving and great defense like that makes it much easier for Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic to excel.
Wary of the Zone
Trailing by 18 at the start of the fourth quarter, the Lakers locked the Nuggets down and went on a lengthy run. By the halfway mark of the fourth, it was a close game once again. Denver turned it over on six consecutive possessions and looked bamboozled by an aggressive Lakers zone – Rajon Rondo was a pest on the perimeter, recording three fourth quarter steals.
Rajon Rondo just passed Kobe Bryant for No. 9 in all-time playoff assists 👏 pic.twitter.com/6d2WF5PaZz
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) September 23, 2020
The Lakers don’t run much zone. Denver’s offensive rhythm was upset by this clever switch-up from Frank Vogel. There will likely be more zone in Game 4, and much like in the Eastern Conference Finals with Miami’s zone troubling the Celtics, it will be interesting to see how Denver adjust.
Denver turned it over 18 times in Game 3. Eight of those came in the fourth. While they gathered themselves and Murray saved them late on, those turnovers against the zone are a concern for Malone.
Keep Backing Denver
Resilience to overturn leads and series deficits is one thing. The Nuggets’ resilience was tested in a different way on Tuesday as they were forced to hold off a resurgent Lakers to stay in the series. Denver kept it together and rebuilt the lead late on.
Jamal Murray is officially on my Steph Curry/Damian Lillard "when he's on fire, only an asteroid hitting the earth can make me change the channel" list.
— Rob Perez (@WorldWideWob) September 23, 2020
The Nuggets are a blown defensive coverage away from a series lead. They have gone toe-to-toe with the Lakers over the last two games.
Making the Lakers six-point favorites is generous. Denver are the best bet here.
Pick: Denver Nuggets +6 (-110)
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