Lakers vs. Nuggets: Los Angeles C Andrew Bynum Must Elevate His Play in Game 4

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Lakers vs. Nuggets: Los Angeles C Andrew Bynum Must Elevate His Play in Game 4
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Lakers (2-1) and Denver Nuggets (1-2) will continue their best-of-seven Western Conference first-round series on Sunday night at the Pepsi Center, with the opening tipoff scheduled for 9:30 p.m. ET on TNT.

Las Vegas oddsmakers have established the Lakers as two-point road underdogs, while the total has held steady at its opening number of 201.

Los Angeles suffered a 99-84 setback in Game 3 on Friday night, failing to adjust to the altitude in the Mile High City, especially All-Star center Andrew Bynum. He missed all three of his first-half shots, and the team was unable to recover from a 16-point halftime deficit.

Bynum finished with 18 points, nearly matching his 20-point scoring average in two regular-season games in Denver this season.

The Lakers' struggles on the road may push this series to six or seven games, as they are 15-19 away from the Staples Center. It's quite puzzling due to the franchise's 57-41 record in that situation the previous two years when including the postseason.

Denver was on cruise control thanks to a 28-2 first-half run in getting back into the series, but they will likely face a more prepared opponent in this affair. The Nuggets are also just 3-8 all time at home against the Lakers in the playoffs.

The same type of defensive intensity is a must in hopes of winning two games in a row, with the Nuggets winning three of four games this year after allowing 85 points or less.

I'm going to back the Lakers due to their 8-2 record after a loss by 10 or more points this season.

Pick: Los Angeles Lakers plus-2 

Follow on twitter: @JeffGrantSports

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