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LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers will enter the NBA All-Star break with the best record in the NBA Western Conference. But the Lakers face a major test beforehand in the form of the host Denver Nuggets at Pepsi Center Wednesday night.
James has found a perfect fit in Los Angeles this season and is averaging 24.8 points, 10.7 assists and 7.7 rebounds in 50 games. The assists figure is key as James has been overtly working to bring the likes of Anthony Davis (26.5 points) into the offensive fold.
The Lakers are 3-point road favorites at Resorts, while the Nuggets are clearing +3 at Caesar's. The total is firm at 220.5 at PointsBetUSA and elsewhere. The Lakers stand -143 at SugarHouse, while the home Nuggets fetch +135 at bet365.
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NBA fans and bettors can follow the action via the NBACast, co-hosted by NBA experts Nate Duncan and Danny Leroux, starting at 10 p.m. The #NBACast offers live, in-game analysis, up-to-the second breakout stats and — as always — will take your questions. The NBACast is sponsored by Bookies.com.
The game will also air on ESPN.
Both teams were off Tuesday but won Monday night. Rajon Rondo flashed back to his days with the Celtics during Los Angeles’ game at Phoenix and scored a season-high 23 points – 15 in the second quarter - in the Lakers’ 125-100 victory. Davis added 25 points.
Lakers lead the West
The 40-12 Lakers hold a four-game lead over the Nuggets in the loss column for the race to nail the best record in the Western Conference. Los Angeles is fetching +310 odds at bet365 to win the 2020 NBA Finals, while daring bettors can get Denver at +2200 at William Hill to win its first NBA championship.
The remainder of the Lakers’ season will be overshadowed by the death of Kobe Bryant, who died along with his daughter, Gigi, and seven others in a helicopter crash on Jan. 26. Bryant will officially be named as a Basketball Hall of Fame finalist on Friday. James, meanwhile, will captain a team in the NBA All-Star Game for the third time on Sunday in Chicago. His team will wear No. 2, in honor of Gigi Bryant, while the team captained by Giannis Antetokounmpo will be wearing Kobe Bryant’s No. 24.
RELATED: Check out our NBA Expert's three best bets for Wednesday’s action and our free NBA picks every day of the season
Nuggets Win At Trade Deadline
The 38-16 Nuggets were considered a solid bet on Bookies.com to go over their projected total of 52.5 wins. Denver remains among the top three value bets after the NBA trade deadline to win the 2020 NBA Finals.
Denver rallied from a 23-point hole at home Monday to beat the San Antonio Spurs 127-120 and now boast a three-game winning streak. Denver scored 74 points in the second half against San Antonio, with 14 of those coming from guard Jamal Murray. He finished with 26 points overall in his fourth game after missing time with a sprained left ankle.
The Nuggets are getting a surprising boost in the form of 35-year-old forward Paul Millsap. He had 16 of his 22 points off the bench Monday in the second half, including the go-ahead 3-pointer in the fourth.
Denver forwards Keita Bates-Diop and Jordan McRae were acquired in separate deals before the trade deadline. Each is expected to play again on Wednesday. McRae had eight points in 17 minutes against San Antonio.
The teams split their two previous games this season. James and Davis each scored 25 points when the Lakers beat the Nuggets 105-96 at Pepsi Center on Dec. 3. Millsap led all scorers with 22 points when the Nuggets beat the Lakers 128-104 on Dec. 22 at Staples Center.
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