Western Conference Heavyweights

Western Conference Heavyweights

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Written By: DaVion Lee
Carmelo and company are back in town and are looking to keep their current season streak going against the Los Angeles Lakers(44-15).

The Lakers seemed lethargic and listless in Friday’s game against the Sixers, but came out with a win, 99-90.

Denver(39-19) has felt as if they have had L.A.’s number since their loss in last years Western Conference Finals. Denver comes to the STAPLES Center 2-0 against the champs this season, winning both at home and on the road. Denver’s most recent win was in L.A. on Feb. 5th, where they dominated and had an impressive win, 126-113. Chauncey Billups scored a career-high 39 points in Melo’s absence. With an almost borderline cocky attitude, Denver is sure they can leave here today with win number three.

As for the Lakers, despite being the champs, they must treat this as a statement game. Although they’re the conference leaders and have the 2nd best record in the league, they haven’t beaten many contending teams. They’re 4-8 against Boston, Cleveland, Dallas, Denver, and San Antonio respectively.

The Lakers are going to have to slow down the high-scoring Nuggets, who are averaging over 107 ppg. If they can keep them under 100 points, this game will favor L.A.

Artest will have his hands full guarding Anthony, and he may try to use his strength to wear him down as the game goes on. Defense and energy is key to putting this physical team away.

Also, the Lakers have been a bit stagnant offensively lately, missing shots that are usually “gimmes” for such a talented team. Efficiency will make this an easier victory for an already tough battle.

PROJECTED STARTERS:
(C) A. Bynum
(PF) P. Gasol
(SF) R. Artest
(SG) K. Bryant
(PG) D. Fisher

Injuries:
K. Bryant(Ankle/Right index) is day-to-day.
S. Vujacic(Shoulder) is out.
L. Walton(Back) is out.

(C) Nene
(PF) K. Martin
(SF) C. Anthony
(SG) A. Afflalo
(PG) C. Billups

Injuries:
K. Martin(knee) is a game-time decision.
T. Lawson(thumb) is day-to-day.

NOTES: The Lakers are 93-48 all time against the Nuggets. The Lakers are 27-5 at home this season while the Nuggets are a mere 14-14 on the road.