- The Denver Nuggets are still listed with long odds of +820 to win the Western Conference despite Tuesday’s 114-106 win over the Los Angeles Lakers
- LA still leads the best-of-seven series 2-1 and remains the -1600 favorite to win the NBA West
- The Nuggets have never played in the NBA Finals in franchise history
Was it a blip on the radar, or do we have a series on our hands in the NBA Western Conference final?
The Denver Nuggets posted a 114-106 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 3 of this best-of-seven series. It was Denver’s first win of the set.
The performance certainly hasn’t swayed the oddsmakers to think less of the the chances that the Lakers will still be the team that’s taking this series and advancing to the NBA Finals. LA remains overwhelming -1600 favorites to capture the set.
Denver’s victory did little to change the minds of the betting houses. The Nuggets are being offered at a lengthy betting line of +820 in the Western Conference Finals odds.
Lakers vs Nuggets NBA Western Conference Finals Odds
|Los Angeles Lakers||-1600|
Odds taken Sept. 23rd at FanDuel
The Lakers are also solid -255 favorites to win Game 4 of this series on Thursday at 9:05 pm ET.
Nuggets of Success
Leading 29-27 after one quarter of play Tuesday, Denver took control. The Nuggets outscored the Lakers 64-48 over the span of the second and third quarters. It was the first time in seven games that Denver took a lead to the locker room at halftime.
NUGGETS WIN NUGGETS WIN NUGGETS WIN NUGGETS WIN NUGGETS WIN NUGGETS WIN NUGGETS WIN NUGGETS WIN pic.twitter.com/WEEBSYRszy
— Denver Nuggets (@nuggets) September 23, 2020
Denver dominated from beyond the arc. The Nuggets outscored the Lakers 33-18 from 3-point range.
Denver hit for 37.9% (11-of-29) from its 3-point attempts. LA was just 23.1% (6-of-26) from outside the 3-point line.
The Nuggets also held a 44-25 advantage in rebounds. That included a 9-4 edge in offensive boards. LA didn’t help its own cause, either. The Lakers were a dismal 63.6% (14-of-22) from the free throw line. Denver outscored LA 23-14 from the charity stripe.
LA also committed 24 turnovers.
Coming Up Big
As the old saying goes, the Nuggets’ best players were their best players. Guard Jamal Murray scored 28 points and dished out 12 assists. Center Nicola Jokic was good for 22 points and grabbed 10 boards.
When the Lakers switched to a zone defense to seek some control over Denver’s dynamic 1-2 punch, forward Jerami Grant answered the call.
Jamal Murray and Jerami Grant carry the Nuggets to a 114-106 Game 3 win over the Lakers
Murray: 28 PTS, 12 AST, 8 REB
Grant: 26 PTS, 3 REB, 7-11 FG pic.twitter.com/ODJCMUZIXz
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) September 23, 2020
He finished the night with a career-high 26 points. Grant was 7-of-11 from the field on the night.
Denver ended a four-game losing streak against the Lakers. However, LA still holds a 7-4 edge though the past 11 games between the two teams.
How the West Will Be Won
Right about now, some Denver backer is spinning a yarn about how the Nuggets are an Anthony Davis buzzer-beating 3-pointer away from a 2-1 lead in this series. Based on simple math, that’s correct.
However, NBA games are decided by buzzer beaters all of the time. The Lakers needed someone to make a shot and Davis did so.
Tuesday’s win shouldn’t be read as a turnaround in this series. Denver was leading Game 3 by 20 points with 10:30 left to play in the fourth quarter and nearly lost.
— NBA (@NBA) September 23, 2020
A furious 19-2 LA run left the outcome in serious doubt. It took a couple of threes by Murray and a dish he sent to Paul Millsap for another bucket to stave off the Lakers rally.
In 2009, the Nuggets and Lakers also met in the Western Conference final. LA took that series in six games en route to an NBA title.
That’s about the best the Nuggets can hope for in this series. They might win another game.
They’re not going to take the set.
Pick: Los Angeles Lakers (-1600).
Let's have fun and keep it civil.