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White-Hot Lakers Host Not-Quite-As-Hot Nuggets At Staples Center

The Los Angeles Lakers are in search of their 10th straight win on Sunday afternoon as they host the Denver Nuggets at Staples Center. The Lakers are 17-1 since the NBA All-Star break, which is only a shade better than the Nuggets have played of late. Since the trade of superstar Carmelo Anthony, the Nuggets have won 14 of 18 games.

The Lakers have split two games with Denver this season, though the two teams haven't played since January 21. Both previous encounters were at Pepsi Center in Denver. At Staples Center, the Lakers are 18-3 all-time against the Nuggets in the regular season and have won 10 of their last 12 games. This is a matchup of the top two offensive teams in the NBA. Denver leads the league in offensive efficiency with 112.4 points per 100 possessions, while the Lakers are second (111.9).

The Lakers are just the fourth team in NBA history to win at least 17 of 18 games directly after the All-Star break. The 1999-2000 Lakers began 27-1 after the break, while the 1990-1991 Bulls went 19-1, and the 1997-1998 Utah Jazz went 17-1. All three previous teams made the NBA Finals, and the Lakers and Bulls won titles.

Pau Gasol has averaged 18.0 points and 16.5 rebounds per game in two games against the Nuggets this season. Kobe Bryant averaged 26.0 points and 6.0 assists this season against Denver.

For more news and information on the Lakers or today's game, be sure to read the SB Nation blog Silver Screen and Roll.