The Los Angeles Lakers had a surprisingly successful road trip, going 2-1 away from Staples Center, but now get to settle in to Southern California for the rest of November. The Denver Nuggets are the first opponent heading to L.A. to face the Lakers during their four-game home stand.
The Nuggets have dealt with their own struggles to start the year. They've already lost to teams that were visiting Denver on the second half of a back-to-back, once the safest bet in American sports. Brian Shaw hasn't figured things out in the second year as head coach.
Danilo Gallinari's return to Denver after sitting out a large span of time after tearing his ACL two seasons ago hasn't amounted to much. He's playing just 17.7 minutes per game and averaging 6.9 points on 31 percent shooting. Gallinari simply doesn't look like the player he was before his knee injury, which is disappointing. He's a shell of his former self who averaged a career-high 16.2 points, 5.7 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game while shooting 41 percent from the field and 37 percent from behind the three-point line during the '12-13 season.
This stretch in Los Angeles is a great opportunity for the Lakers to regroup a bit to close out the month. Wayne Ellington is back with the team, and outside of Ryan Kelly, the Lakers have all of the players they'll be leaning on for the rest of the year -- sans Kupchak shuffling the deck. The schedule isn't particularly easy (both the Memphis Grizzlies and Toronto Raptors are in line), but staying put for a week should help the Lakers. That's extra time for the coaching staff to straighten out X's and O's, among other things.
Either way, this might be the most "winnable" game, depending on your thoughts about the Minnesota Timberwolves, for the next week. Enjoy the game.
Time: 6:30 p.m. PT