Denver Nuggets at Los Angeles Lakers (-4, 211)
The Los Angeles Lakers continue to sputter and find themselves two games below .500 entering Sunday’s home game against the Denver Nuggets. The schedule will be 40 percent complete after the Denver contest and Los Angeles still will be searching to reach the break-even mark. “There are spots where we’re really good and there are spots that we seem to dissolve a little bit as a team,” Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni said. Denver has won eight of 12 games.
The Nuggets are just 8-14 on the road and often are a different team away from the home. Denver downed the Lakers at home 126-114 on Dec. 26 but was routed 122-103 in its previous visit to Los Angeles on Nov. 30. The Nuggets received 26 points from Danilo Gallinari in Saturday’s 110-91 home win over the Utah Jazz. Los Angeles star Kobe Bryant has scored 27 or more points in 16 consecutive games since tallying a season-worst 14 against the Nuggets in the late November outing. The Lakers lost to the Los Angeles Clippers 107-102 on Friday.
TV: 9:30 p.m. ET, Altitude (Denver), TWC SportsNet (Los Angeles)
ABOUT THE NUGGETS (19-16): Forward Kenneth Faried had 15 points and 10 rebounds against Utah for his 15th double-double of the campaign after the team feared he might miss the contest. Faried missed the team shootaround due to a stomach illness but elected to play and came through with a strong performance. “I got some medication to help my stomach and also help the dehydration,” Faried said. “It paid off a lot. I was able to come out and play, but I still felt kind of queasy. They said it was up to me at game time, but I’m not going to miss no games.” Faried had 21 points and 15 rebounds against the Lakers on Dec. 26.
ABOUT THE LAKERS (15-17): Center Dwight Howard didn’t practice Saturday after taking a blow to his right shoulder from Clippers forward Caron Butler during Friday’s game. Howard’s availability will be firmed up in the hours leading up to Sunday’s game. “I didn’t want it to bother me as much, so I just tried to do as much during the game to loosen it up,” Howard said. “I don’t know if that did anything, but I was in a lot of pain. I was in a lot of pain (Saturday) morning. It was tough to put my clothes on. We’ll see how it feels.” Forward Jordan Hill (ankle) also is ailing but expects to play against the Nuggets.
* Over is 5-0 in Lakers’ last five Sunday games.
* Under is 5-0 in Nuggets’ last five overall.
* Lakers are 1-4-1 ATS in their last six games following a loss.
* Nuggets are 9-2 ATS in their last 11 games in the second half of a back-to-back.
1. Los Angeles is 21-4 against Denver at the Staples Center.
2. Nuggets PG Ty Lawson had 17 points and a season-high 14 assists in the late-December win over the Lakers.
3. The Lakers are just 9-for-47 (19.1) from 3-point range over the past two games.