The Los Angeles Lakers (30-33 SU, 26-35-2 ATS) are on the verge of collapse. They’ve lost four of their last five games straight up and against the spread, and things won’t get any easier Wednesday night when the Denver Nuggets (42-20 SU, 33-29 ATS) arrive at Staples Center. ESPN will have the opening tip at 10:30 PM ET.

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The Lakers are in grave danger of missing the playoffs for the sixth year in a row. At press time, they’re 4.5 games out of eighth place in the Western Conference with 19 games left to play – and a much more difficult schedule than their competition. The Nuggets are one of their biggest roadblocks; Denver owns the second-best record in the West, and they’ve won five of their last seven at 4-3 ATS.

The Lakers have been without their two best players for large swathes of the regular season. LeBron James returned to action January 31 after sitting out 17 games with a groin injury, but Lonzo Ball (sprained ankle) hasn’t played since January 21, and will likely miss his 18th straight game on Wednesday. Despite these issues, LA are still available at +1100 on the NBA championship futures market, ahead of Denver at +2200.

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