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Lakers vs. Nuggets Game Preview: D'Angelo Russell and Emmanuel Mudiay close season-series

The lottery guards of the 2015 draft get one last crack at each other.

Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Lakers tightened their hold on the second-best NBA Draft lottery odds with their loss to the Phoenix Suns, now on course to ride out the rest of the season with very little left to gain or lose. The Denver Nuggets are coming off of a long-range game-winning shot from Emmanuel Mudiay that buried the Philadelphia 76ers.

Injuries have forced the Nuggets' season into the gutter, the franchise set to miss the playoffs for the third season in a row. Denver still has double the amount of total wins on the  year (30) than the Lakers (15). The year was always going to be about Mudiay's rookie campaign, but the emergence of both Nikola Jokic and Jusuf Nurkic has been the unexpected development that's become a focal point for Nuggets fans.

The Western Conference will get to enjoy matches between the young talent these teams have gathered over the last few seasons for the foreseeable future, with the point guard battle between D'Angelo Russell and Mudiay serving as the highlight. Denver has won two of the three contests this season, leaving the Lakers only with a chance to split the series.

Kobe Bryant's status is in its constant loop of being a game-time decision, though he did play in both games of the Lakers' back-to-back that ended on the road in Phoenix.

Time: 7:30 p.m. PT


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