This is a big game for both teams -- the Nuggets need to show that they can win important games away from their decided home court advantage and the Lakers really, really just need a win. Whichever team walks away with the win tonight can reasonably point to it as an important victory. Whichever team loses will have to face more questions about whether they are legitimate contenders.
The Nuggets beat the Lakers 10 days ago in Denver in a game in which Dwight Howard was ejected for a flagrant foul on Kenneth Faried. That loss came the day after the Lakers had beaten the Knicks on national TV and everyone thought they were starting to get their act together. Instead, the Nuggets beat the Lakers and started a stretch of three losses in four games. So the Lakers would love to win this one both for revenge and to right their ship.