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Game 5 Preview: Lakers vs Nuggets

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It’s Game 5 of the first-round series between the Lakers and Nuggets, as the series heads back to Denver with LA trailing 3-1 in the series. The Lakers managed to avoid a second-straight sweep on Saturday night and will now be looking for a huge road win, and with it the opportunity of extending the series further. Tonight, however, they face a huge task against this Denver team and their electric crowd. They will have to put on a perfect display if they want to head back to Los Angeles for Game 6.

Injury Report

LeBron James and Anthony Davis are questionable. Jarred Vanderbilt could return for his first action since injuring his foot before the trade deadline, and is officially listed as questionable. Jalen Hood-Schifino and Cam Reddish remain out. Meanwhile, Jamal Murray is questionable for Denver with a calf strain.

Apply Pressure

Having been down 3-0, and now down 3-1, no one is really giving the Lakers a chance to pull off the huge win tonight in Denver. However, if they somehow do, all the pressure will be on Denver with the series heading back to Los Angeles. The Lakers need to use that tonight. Denver will likely come out strong, and LA have to withstand that – and the electric atmosphere that comes with it – and continue battling.

If it’s the fourth quarter and the Lakers are hanging around or in the lead, the energy in the building could become anxious, which can translate to the players. Obviously, being at home is a huge overall advantage for Denver. But if the Lakers can show this Denver team and crowd that they will not go away and they will do everything possible to head back home for a Game 6, it could make the difference.

The Guards are Vital

In Game 3, Austin Reaves and D’Angelo Russell had their first game in this series where both played well. The result? The Lakers’ first win. It’s a must that Russell and Reaves provide similar offensive production if the Lakers want to have some chance to win this series. Reaves has done a good job when guarding Jamal Murray on the defensive end this series, but the Lakers need more consistency from their starting guards.

Can LA force a Game 6 back at home or is this the end of the road for the 2023/2024 season? Tip-off is at 10 EST as the Lakers travel to Denver for another elimination game.

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