The Lakers (7-8) host the Denver Nuggets (8-8) on Friday night at Staples Center. The Nuggets are coming off a close loss on the road Thursday against the Golden State Warriors. The Lakers recently fell to the Indiana Pacers on a last-second shot by George Hill.
The Nuggets gave the Lakers a seven-game challenge last year in the playoffs but both franchises have evolved since then. The Lakers have Dwight Howard at center instead of Andrew Bynum; the Nuggets now have Andre Iguodala.
The Lakers will be challenged, playing once again without point guards Steve Nash (leg) and Steve Blake (abdominal strain).
Iguodala has always guarded Kobe Bryant relatively well. He'll get a chance to slow down the Lakers star, but it won't be easy. Outside of turnovers, Bryant is arguably having the most efficient season of his career.
Though Bryant is a dominant scorer, Iguodala averages closer to 16 points a game. The Nuggets' swingman is also a steady rebounder and playmaker. If he can keep Bryant from dominating the game, the Lakers could have a hard time scoring.