Is LeBron James Playing Today? LeBron is listed as probable and is likely to play for the Lakers who host the Nuggets for Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals. The game is expected to tip-off at 08:30 PM ET, Saturday, May 20th, 2023.
Given their losses in Games 1 and 2, it’s surprising the Lakers come into Game 3 a 5.5 point favorite, with many expecting them to bounce back at home.
The Nuggets, led by MVP Nikola Jokic, are closing in on their first NBA Finals appearance. However, teammate Jamal Murray’s standout performances deserve recognition for their success. With a 2-0 series lead against the Lakers, Murray’s explosive fourth-quarter display in Game 2 propelled the Nuggets to a 108-103 victory.
Despite struggling earlier in the game, Murray’s resilience and focus allowed him to score 23 crucial points in the final period. He has been averaging 34 points per game in the series. Jokic’s triple-double of 23 points, 17 rebounds, and 12 assists further contributed to their success.
While the Nuggets have impressed, the media’s focus remains on the Lakers’ struggles rather than Denver’s achievements. Coach Michael Malone expressed disappointment with this narrative, highlighting Jokic’s historic performance in Game 1 and his seven triple-doubles in this postseason.
As the series progresses, the Lakers face the challenge of making adjustments to turn the tide. LeBron emphasized the need for a victory in Game 3 and maintaining a sense of urgency throughout the playoffs.
Despite suffering a minor ankle injury, James confirmed his availability for the upcoming game. The Lakers will rely on him and Anthony Davis, who struggled in Game 2, to regain their form.
Lakers coach Darvin Ham remains confident that the series is still winnable, given their undefeated home record in the postseason. Supporting players like Austin Reaves and Rui Hachimura have been performing well, but the Lakers need their stars to step up for a comeback.
ODDS AND PREDICTIONS
The Nuggets continue to be underrated and undervalued, which is why the analysts believe it’s a good decision to bet on them. In previous playoff series, when the Nuggets were up 2-0 and playing on the road for Game 3, they preferred a faster-paced game and unleashed their shooting skills.
While they lost Game 3 against the Suns despite a 44 percent shooting percentage, the Nuggets have managed to secure a 2-0 lead against the Lakers without shooting better than their opponents. This is unusual for a team with strong offensive statistics, and the analyst believes their shooting performance will improve as the series progresses.
Despite experiencing different first halves in Games 1 and 2, the Nuggets have consistently held double-digit leads in the fourth quarter. Therefore, the analyst finds it surprising that the Nuggets are receiving a significant number of points as underdogs on the road.
The Nuggets have a 10-8 against-the-spread record as road underdogs this season. If they maintain a fast pace from the start of the game, the analyst believes it’s more likely that the final score will be in the 120s, increasing Denver’s chances of winning outright.
The Nuggets have demonstrated this strategy in previous Game 3s, and the analyst expects them to continue with it. The Nuggets will challenge the Lakers and make them work hard for a Game 3 victory that many people already assume is theirs. Therefore, the analyst recommends betting on the Nuggets with the points.
Spread: Lakers -5.5
Moneyline: Lakers -230, Nuggets +190
Pick: Nuggets +5.5
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