The Los Angeles Lakers are the most efficient offensive team in the NBA, but face a team nearly their offensive equal tonight as Carmelo Anthony and the Denver Nuggets seek their fifth straight regular season win at Pepsi Center against Los Angeles. The Lakers average 112.1 points per 100 possessions, leading the league in offensive efficiency. The Nuggets, meanwhile, are tied for second at 111.7 points per 100 possessions, only a shade behind the Lakers.
The Lakers have lost four straight regular season games in Denver, including earlier this season, and the Nuggets have been playing well of late, winning four of their last five games. So, it's understandable that C.A. Clark of Silver Screen and Roll does not like the Lakers chances tonight:
With the Lakers in this pseudo-vulnerable condition, there are literally 28 NBA teams I'd rather them face than tonight's opponent, the Denver Nuggets. Denver is not the best team in the league, not even close, but they are the most explosive, both in temperament and capability. They have a strong dislike for the Lakers, because in the one season that Denver did not find their self-destruct button by themselves, the Lakers helped them find it. And no team in the league takes more pride in feeding on the emaciated carcass that is the Lakers in the regular season, and pretending it's the filet mignon that is the Lakers in the playoffs. The Nuggets recent history shows further indication that we may not enjoy the evening's events. They've won four of five, with the loss coming against the invincible San Antonio Spurs in San Antonio, and three of the Nugget victories have been annihilations of the 28+ point variety. Their offensive potency is as good as any team's in the NBA, and they take joy in piling on when they're feeling it and the opponent is having an off night.
The Lakers are 14-8 on the road this season, which is the fourth-best away mark in the NBA. Denver is 19-4 at home, the third-best home record in the league.
For more information on Friday's game, be sure to read Silver Screen and Roll.