Big Al's Daily Angle: NBA and MLB Preview

by Alec McMordie

The NBA and MLB offer the main attractions for the Friday card.

The opening game of the NBA Western Conference finals begins tonight with the Denver Nuggets and the Los Angeles Lakers. Denver once again rallied from a 3-1 deficit in the Western Conference semifinals to upset the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday by a 104-89 score. For the third straight game, the Nuggets rallied from a deficit to upset the heavily-favored Los Angeles team. Denver outscored the Clippers in the second half by a 50-33 score to stun Doc Rivers team as a 7.5-point underdog. The victory did offer the Nuggets with their first two-day rest since play began for them in the bubble on August 1st. Denver also rallied from a 3-1 deficit to defeat Utah in the opening round of the playoffs.

The Lakers have had five full days off to rest in the bubble since they closed out their series with Houston on Saturday. Los Angeles defeated the Rockets in Game 5 of the Western Conference semifinals by a 119-96 score. The Lakers lost the opening game of that series but outclassed Houston and their small-ball style when head coach Frank Vogel benched JaVale McGee and Dwight Howard to take advantage of the athleticism of Anthony Davis who could move over to play the center position. It will be interesting to watch if Vogel continues the smaller lineups with Davis playing at the 5 or if McGee and Howard get back on the court to defend the Nuggets’ Nikola Jokic. These two teams played four times in the regular season with the Lakers winning three of those games. The last meeting between these two teams was in the bubble on August 10th when Los Angeles outlasted Denver by a 124-121 score as a 5-point closing favorite. The game is set to start shortly after 9 PM ET on TNT. BookMaker lists Los Angeles as a 7.5-point favorite tonight with the total set at 210.5. 

Major League Baseball has an 18-game card on tap for Friday with three doubleheaders. St. Louis plays at Pittsburgh with that doubleheader starting at 4:05 PM ET which also begins the MLB slate of games. Toronto and Philadelphia pair of 7-inning games also start at 4:05 PM ET. 

The third doubleheader starts at 5:05 PM ET with Washington playing at Miami. FS1 will be televising both games. The opener sees Erick Fedde pitching for the Nationals against the Marlins rookie Sixto Sanchez. The Marlins’ phenom is 3-1 this season with a sparkling 1.69 ERA. Miami is one of the surprises in this shortened season as their 25-23 record would currently put them in the expanded National League playoffs. The defending World Series champions disappointed with an 18-29 record which puts them last in the NL East. Fedde has struggled with a 1-3 mark along with a 5.06 ERA. The nightcap is scheduled at 8:10 PM ET with Washington leaning on their bullpen with Will Crowe serving as their opener. Miami counters with Dan Castano.

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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