Dramatic wins on the road are not typically the Lakers' forte this year, but Sunday proved otherwise. Los Angeles improved to 10-18 on the road in a 103-99 win in Dallas Sunday afternoon. The win was significant for L.A. - not only did they beat a rival on their home turf, but it inched them within 2.5 games behind the eighth-seeded Houston Rockets in the Western Conference playoffs.
Winning against a mediocre Dallas team is one thing, but Monday night the Lakers will travel to snowy Denver to take on the Nuggets and their 23-3 home record. If the Lakers wish to pull the upset on the second leg of this back-to-back road test, they'll try and outscore Denver. Simply put, you cannot stop the Nuggets at home, you can only hope to contain them.
Denver's Efficient Offense
There is truly a laundry list of offensive stats one could roll out to explain how good the Denver Nuggets are. But in short, they play quickly and score a lot of points. They're ranked third in pace factor and points/game, and they also lead the league in field goals, field goal attempts, and offensive rebounds. Denver's incredible offensive efficiency is a total team effort as well, with only Kenneth Faried as the lone Nugget landing in the top 20 most efficient offensive players in the league. Despite these numbers, Denver takes it to another level at the Pepsi Center, scoring 109 points per game while committing two fewer turnovers and two more steals at home compared to on the road.
Can the Surging Lakers Continue the Streak?
Timing, if anything, might be on the Lakers' side going into Monday's match up. L.A. has won five of their last seven on the road, and Denver has lost four of five. Aside from recent play, the Lakers need to win the rebounding battle in order to win the game. Dwight Howard, along with counterpart, Earl Clark will have to post double-digit rebound totals against Denver's front line. Who knows if Dwight Howard will replicate his 26 rebound performance against Denver on January 6, but L.A. needs to maximize offensive possessions Monday against Denver in order to have a good shot.