The Los Angeles Lakers look for their third straight win on Saturday afternoon as they host the Denver Nuggets at Staples Center in the first game of a home-and-home set over New Year's weekend. The Lakers welcome the return of center Andrew Bynum after his four-game suspension to open the season.
The Lakers through four games are fifth in the NBA in defensive rating, allowing 97.3 points per 100 possessions. They are coming off a pair of impressive blowout wins, 96-71 over the Utah Jazz and 99-82 over the New York Knicks. The Lakers held New York to just 10 points in the fourth quarter on Thursday night. The infusion of Bynum into the lineup figures to help the defense, and could be an offensive boon as well.
"He's going to see the ball probably a lot more than he did in the past, but he'll have to be able to do something with it in order to get it and keep getting it," head coach Mike Brown told Dave McMenamin of ESPN Los Angeles.
Bynum averaged 11.3 points, 9.4 rebounds, and 2.0 blocks per contest in 54 games last season. He served a four-game suspension for his hit on J.J. Barea of the Dallas Mavericks in Game 4 of the Western Conference Semifinals last season. The suspension was originally five games but the league reduced the suspension to four games due to the lockout-shortened season.
The Lakers are just 4-6 in their last 10 games against the Nuggets, but 7-3 in their last 10 games against them at Staples Center. Denver won two of three meetings with the Lakers last season, including a win in Los Angeles. The two teams face each other again on Sunday night at Pepsi Center in Denver.
Saturday afternoon's 12:30 p.m. PST game will be televised by Fox Sports West. For more Lakers news and information, be sure to read Silver Screen and Roll.