The Denver Nuggets are in uncharted territory. No team has ever come back from multiple 3-1 deficits in a single postseason. The mere idea is somewhat preposterous. Most teams don't even encounter multiple 3-1 deficits. The Nuggets started the Western Conference Finals down 2-0, but rallied back to win Game 3. Is that a sign that, like their past two series, they are getting stronger at the right time? Or is it just a blip on the way to a gentleman's sweep?
Without a historical precedent, it's unknowable. The best advice you can get right now is to trust your eyes. Pretend that the past two rounds didn't happen. Bet on what you saw between the Lakers and the Nuggets and nothing else. That is the thought process behind today's best bets.
All lines via William Hill Sportsbook
Los Angeles Lakers vs. Denver Nuggets: Nuggets +6
Over the past nine quarters, the Nuggets have beaten the Lakers by 18 combined points. There is quite a bit of garbage time in there, but it makes a broader points. The Nuggets may have been overwhelmed by LeBron James and Anthony Davis early on just as they were by the Clippers, but they've adjusted, and now, these teams are pretty darn even. The Lakers should be favored for the simple fact that they have LeBron and the Nuggets don't, but six points in such a close series is too many to give up.
Los Angeles Lakers vs. Denver Nuggets: Over 214.5
The Lakers very nearly came back from a massive deficit in Game 3 by unleashing a surprise zone defense. The problem is that they used that secret weapon at the worst possible time. Rather than coming out fresh with it, they showed the Nuggets their zone in a game they were likely to lose anyway. Now the Nuggets, who posted the best offense against zone defenses in the NBA this season at over 1.2 points per possession, have time to prepare, and the Lakers won't be able to unleash their surprise a second time.
Los Angeles Lakers vs. Denver Nuggets: Rajon Rondo Under 8 assists
Spacing was a major issue for the Lakers in Game 3, and the backup point guards were a major contributor there. Rajon Rondo and Alex Caruso went 0-for-7 on 3-pointers, The easiest fix to that is to shift some of their minutes (55) onto better shooters. Danny Green and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, the two best Laker shooters, played only 47 minutes in Game 3. Expect those numbers to flip, and Rondo's numbers to take a slight hit.