Denver Nuggets vs. Los Angeles Clippers Matchup Preview
The end of the seeding games for the NBA restart is upon us, with many teams only having two games left to play. That is the case for the Denver Nuggets (46-25) and the Los Angeles Clippers (47-23). Both teams had already punched their ticket to the playoffs before the bubble even began, so the seeding games were more of a way to get reps and determine what place they would have in the playoffs. This game is especially important for both teams, as the Clippers and Nuggets currently sit as the 2nd and 3rd seeds in the Western Conference, respectively. The Clippers only have a 1.5 game lead over the Nuggets for the 2nd seed, so this game is of most importance to both teams. In the event that Denver wins out and Los Angeles loses out, the Nuggets would take the #2 seed over the Clippers. If the Clippers defeat the Nuggets in this game, they won’t have to worry about playing hard in their last game against the Thunder and would be able to rest their starters. With all of this in mind and two contending teams fighting for a better seed in the playoffs, I think that this game will be a quite entertaining matchup.
Time: 9:00 PM ET
Arena: HP Field House, Orlando, FL
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Nuggets Starting 5
The Nuggets have had an up-and-down NBA restart so far. The team is 3-3, most recently losing to the Los Angeles Lakers on a game-winning three from Kyle Kuzma with 0.4 seconds left on the clock. Even though they lost this game, there are still many positives to come out of this for the Nuggets. Denver went toe-to-toe with the best team in the West and lost on the last shot. They also had eight different players record double-digit points, which is quite an impressive feat for any team. With their offense run through star center Nikola Jokic, the Nuggets are capable of spreading the ball to everyone and scoring points in bunches. Jokic’s play, combined with great scoring ability from players like Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. around him, makes this a dangerous team. Porter Jr., in particular, has broken out on the scene at the Orlando bubble. He has scored 20+ points four out of Denver’s six games, including 37 against the Thunder and 30 against the Spurs. He has proven to be a rising star and a perfect complementary player to Jokic’s game. He can both score off the dribble and moves around the floor nicely, allowing Jokic to find him for easy assists. It will be interesting to see how Porter Jr. fares against Paul George and Kawhi Leonard, who are two of the best defenders in the league. The Nuggets will rely on him for scoring and to hopefully get a crucial W in this game.
Clippers Starting 5
The Clippers have also had a similar NBA restart to the Nuggets. They have also gone 3-3 so far and are also coming off a loss heading into this game. Los Angeles lost to the Nets by nine points despite a 39-point effort from Kawhi Leonard. Paul George did not play in this game; however, as the Clippers were resting him. He is expected to return to the Clippers’ lineup against the Nuggets. A huge reason for the Clippers’ loss to the Nets was a lack of production from their starting guards. Reggie Jackson scored only five points while Landry Shamet somehow managed only to score one point in 32 minutes of play. Even though Kawhi went for 39, the man needs some help from his teammates. Starting center Ivica Zubac also only recorded eight points in this game. When facing a team like the Nuggets, who have capable scorers all across their lineup, Kawhi and PG will need contributions from their role players to get the job done. Marcus Morris has been a solid contributor for the Clippers, putting up double-digit points four times in the restart. When considering that the Nuggets had eight players reach double-digit points in their last game, it will be crucial for the Clippers to get contributions from players not named Paul George or Kawhi Leonard in this game.
Nuggets vs Clippers Fantasy Basketball Angle
There are plenty of players in this matchup that I could’ve chosen to highlight. Paul George, Nikola Jokic, Kawhi Leonard, or Michael Porter Jr. would’ve all been solid choices. However, I am choosing to feature Jamal Murray for the daily fantasy angle for this game. Although he isn’t one of the biggest stars to headline this matchup, he is still a quality player and has a favorable matchup. Reggie Jackson is slated to start for Los Angeles, and although he is a decent player, I think Murray has the edge over him in this one. Murray is a talented scoring guard who is averaging a career-high 18.8 points per game this season. With a lot of defensive attention focused on Jokic and Porter Jr. from the Clippers, I think that Murray could be a big contributor to Denver. If you have him on your fantasy team, I’d suggest starting Jamal Murray in this game.
Nuggets vs Clippers Betting Odds
Nuggets Odds: +175
Clippers Odds: -245
The oddsmakers are favoring the Clippers in this matchup, which isn’t surprising. They have the star power and are probably viewed as a better team on paper. However, I think that Denver is going to win this game. They are only 1.5 games behind the Clippers for the 2nd seed in the West, and I think that Denver will play hard in this game to try and cut Los Angeles’ lead. The Clippers would clinch that #2 seed with a win, so they also might be coming out determined to get the W. Either way, I think that this will be an exciting game to watch, and I am very glad that it is being broadcast on national television.
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