Nuggets/Lakers Player Props Preview Article


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Game 3 Nuggets-Lakers: 3 Player Props: This is Anthony Davis' Bounce-Back Day

Denver Nuggets vs. Los Angeles Lakers
Saturday, May 20, 2023 at 8:30 p.m. ET at Arena in Los Angeles

  • Anthony Davis regularly bounces back after a low-scoring output
  • Davis can space the floor but also thrive in the post
  • Denver's interior defense is vulnerable

Anthony Davis' Pattern

Lakers' star Anthony Davis has a notorious habit of disappearing in playoff games.

This habit has created a profitable pattern because whenever he disappears, he always comes back in the following game with a strong offensive performance.

In this series, he scored 40 points in Game 1.

Before that game, he scored 17 points in Game 6. against the Warriors.

This pattern has been evident in every series so far.

Overall, excluding his last game, AD has failed to score 20 points in five different playoff games so far.

He scored 30 or more points in four of the five games that followed.

In the one exception, he scored 25 points.

This pattern suggests that his current over/under of 24.5 points is too low for him.

The over/under on his point total is deflated by his performances, although tonight's situation calls for a good performance from him.

Denver's Defense

Anthony Davis is also likely to thrive because the Nuggets' interior defense is vulnerable.

Among playoff teams, Denver allows the fifth-highest field goal percentage within five feet of the basket.

Despite this statistic, the weakness of Denver's interior defense hasn't been fully apparent in its series against Minnesota and Phoenix because Karl-Anthony Towns' production drops steeply in postseason play, Kevin Durant hardly attacks the post, and Deandre Ayton gave a disappointing effort.

But the Nuggets do lack rim protectors.

While AD can spread the floor and shoot threes, he'll also make the likes of Nikola Jokic work down low.

Best Bet: Anthony Davis over 24.5 points at -130 with BetOnline

  • Jamal Murray is characteristically inconsistent, which justifies the expectation that he'll disappoint after a strong performance
  • L.A. will focus on stopping Murray after he won Game 2 for Denver
  • The Lakers can stop Murray with Dennis Schröder and Jarred Vanderbilt, who are both stout on-ball defenders

Jamal Murray's Inconsistency

I am worried that bettors will blindly play the "over" on the point total of Nuggets' point guard Jamal Murray because of his first two games in this series.

But we can't forget Murray's characteristic inconsistency.

For example, in his team's first series against Minnesota, he scored 18 points in Game 3 after dropping 40 in Game 2.

Likewise, he mustered 10 points in Game 2 against Phoenix after accruing 34 points in Game 1.

It would make perfect sense for him to suffer such a let-down after scoring 37 points in Game 2 against the Lakers.

He has been performing beyond himself efficiency-wise and, with his team's depth, he has plenty of teammates to step up when his efficiency does drop.

Los Angeles' Defensive Options

The Lakers have two players who are capable of doing a solid defensive job on Murray.

One such player is Dennis Schröder.

The physical tools are there: he's long; be boasts lateral quickness -- he has always been particularly famous for his speed.

With these tools, he keeps the opposing ball-handler in front of him and harasses him.

Moreover, he has looked good fighting through screens.

Largely thanks to him, Murray made five of 17 shots through three quarters in Game 2.

While he did put forth an incredible fourth quarter, the Lakers can adjust by doing a better job of complementing Schröder's defense with Jarred Vanderbilt's.

Vanderbilt regularly hounds the opposing team's top player, as evident in his ability to lock down superstars like Luka Doncic via stout man-to-man defense.

Best Bet: Jamal Murray under 24.5 points at -106 with BetOnline

  • The Lakers allow a lot of open and wide-open three-point attempts
  • Michael Porter Jr. will fly under the radar compared to Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic
  • Porter Jr. is an efficient three-point shooter who gets a lot of chances

Lakers' Vulnerable Perimeter Defense

The best way to thrive against L.A.'s defense is by attacking the Lakers along the perimeter.

Compared to other playoff teams, the Lakers allow one of the highest rates of open three-point attempts.

They also allow wide-open three-point attempts with the highest frequency.

One might wonder why the Warriors, who rely extensively on three-pointers, couldn't find more success against the Lakers.

The answer is that they didn't take advantage of their opportunities in different games.

In the Lakers' series-deciding win, for example, they made five of their 22 open three-point attempts.

They had a ton of opportunities, which is the key thing to note regarding the quality of L.A.'s perimeter defense.

Michael Porter Jr.

I especially like Michael Porter Jr. to thrive from deep for Denver tonight.

Given Murray's decisive and incredible Game 2 performance -- he took advantage of L.A.'s vulnerable perimeter defense by exploding in the fourth quarter with four made three-pointers -- Murray will be the focal point of the Lakers' defense.

Of course, perennial MVP candidate Jokic will also attract significant attention.

This leaves Michael Porter Jr. to shine as a player who, relative to Murray and Jokic, flies under the radar.

He has thrived from deep so far, making three of his six three-point attempts in Game 1 and four of seven of them in Game 2.

The fact that he is getting a lot of volume justifies confidence in his shooting output because he is characteristically an efficient shooter.

In his career, he shoots 40 percent or higher from deep in both the regular season and the postseason.

Best Bet: Michael Porter Jr. over 2.5 three-pointers made at -117 with BetOnline