DENVER NUGGETS (8-8)
at LOS ANGELES LAKERS (7-8)
Tip-off: Friday, 10:35 p.m. ET
Line: Los Angeles -4.5, Total: 205
After playing a grueling seven-game series last year, the Nuggets get their first chance for revenge when they visit the Lakers on Friday night.
Denver is also looking to bounce back from a heart-breaking, 106-105 loss Thursday at Golden State when Andre Iguodala's apparent game-winning three was waived off after a video review. Los Angeles is also trying to overcome a narrow defeat at home to Indiana on Tuesday, falling 79-77 when it allowed a basket with 0.1 seconds remaining. L.A. is now 1-3 (SU and ATS) in its past four games, while Denver has dropped two straight games by a combined three points.
Can the Lakers win big on Friday night against a Nuggets team seeking payback? For the answer, connect to NBA Best Bets for all the Expert picks throughout the entire 2012-13 season. The experts have started the week on fire, going a collective 15-8 ATS (65%) since Monday with StatFox Brian going 5-1 ATS and StatFox Gary going 3-1 ATS so far this week. This season, the experts are a collective 87-78-8 ATS (52.4%) in NBA Best Bets. StatFox Gary leads the way at 61% ATS (14-9-2) Best Bets for the year, as he's currently on a 9-4 ATS run. StatFox Scott is at 56% ATS (22-17) Best Bets for the season. For NBA Totals, StatFox Scott is 13-4 (77%) since Nov. 16, boosting his incredible season mark to 31-10 (76%) on NBA Totals. StatFox Gary is a perfect 7-0 in Totals in the past six days.
Despite the back-to-back losses, the Nuggets are 5-1 ATS in their past six games and have scored 100+ points in nine of the past 11 contests. They have six players averaging double-figures led by Iguodala's 15.7 PPG which has been boosted nicely by his 21.0 PPG on 55% FG (8-of-16 threes) in the past four games. PG Ty Lawson is also surging with 17.2 PPG (49% FG) and 8.4 APG in his past five contests. The one main scorer yet to find his stroke is SF Danilo Gallinari, who's shooting just 38% FG this season including 26% on threes. His slump actually started last season in the playoffs against the Lakers when he made just 36% FG and 4-of-23 threes (17%) in the seven-game series. PF Kenneth Faried provides the muscle down low, averaging a double-double this season (13.3 PPG, 11.1 RPG) and also a double-double (10.4 PPG, 10.0 RPG) against the Lakers in the playoffs.
SG Kobe Bryant has been battling the flu, but he seems to be symptom-free at this point. Although he had more than half of his team's points on Wednesday (40 of 77), he also committed 10 turnovers. Bryant was 12-of-28 FG (43%), but his teammates combined to shoot 12-of-48 from the floor (25%) in the loss to Indiana. PG Darius Morris was 0-for-6, SF Metta World Peace made 1-of-8 and PF Pau Gasol hit just 2-of-9 shots. C Dwight Howard has been strong at home this season (18.8 PPG, 11.4 RPG), but he has killed this team from the foul line with a career-low 47.8% FT rate. However, he has faced Denver nine times since 2007, averaging 17.7 PPG, 15.6 RPG and 2.7 BPG. Bryant was the star of last year's playoff series versus the Nuggets, pumping in 29.1 PPG and 5.0 APG in the seven games.