Denver Nuggets vs. Los Angeles Clippers: Predictions, Starting Lineups (12/6/23)

The Denver Nuggets (14-7) face the Los Angeles Clippers (9-10) this Wednesday (12/6/23). Get Nuggets vs. Clippers moneyline and spread odds, as well as predictions, starting lineups, injuries, and key matchups below.

Denver Nuggets vs. Los Angeles Clippers Prediction

The Nuggets are currently outscoring opponents by 16.4 points per 100 possessions in the first quarter, which ranks second across the NBA behind only Boston. Jamal Murray is questionable for this game, but the Jackson, Caldwell-Pope, Porter Jr, Gordon, Jokic lineup is outscoring opponents by 9.2 points per 100 possessions across 69 minutes. In other words, Denver hasn’t missed a beat without Murray, and they have the tools to defeat Los Angeles here.

The Clippers are allowing the 11th largest restricted area field goal percentage and rank 24th defending catch-and-shoot threes based on opponent shot quality (per ShotQuality). That’s a horrible combination against Nikola Jokic, who easily remains the top offensive player in the league. He will decimate Ivica Zubac around the basket, but Los Angeles cannot double due to Jokic’s passing.

Caldwell-Pope and Porter Jr in particular can punish their weak three-point defense, while Gordon’s aerial dominance can exploit a below the rim Clippers defense. Although the Clippers own quality on-ball wing defenders, that’s not an effective counter to Denver’s offense, which runs through Jokic and off-ball actions.

Defensively, Gordon is one of the few forwards that can bang with Kawhi Leonard and handle his strength. Denver’s lengthy lineup also neutralizes Los Angeles’ typical advantage. Finally, the Clippers are a half-court team, and Denver ranks 5th in half-court defense per ShotQuality.

Overall, the Nuggets’ starting lineup should control the quarter, especially since Jokic doesn’t usually sub out until around 1:30 left in the quarter.

Denver Nuggets vs. Los Angeles Clippers Prediction: Nuggets 1st Quarter Moneyline

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Denver Nuggets vs. Los Angeles Clippers Best Odds

The Clippers are one point favorites, so the books are expecting an extremely close game. For Denver’s -102 moneyline to be profitable in the long run, the bet needs to hit roughly 50.6 percent of the time. It’s worth noting that Denver and Los Angeles have both been bottom seven teams this season against the spread.

Denver Nuggets Starting Lineup

PG: Reggie Jackson
SG: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
SF: Michael Porter Jr
PF: Aaron Gordon
C: Nikola Jokic

Los Angeles Clippers Starting Lineup

PG: James Harden
SG: Paul George
SF: Terance Mann
PF: Kawhi Leonard
C: Ivica Zubac

Denver Nuggets vs. Los Angeles Clippers Injuries

Jamal Murray is questionable for Denver, while Aaron Gordon is probable. On the other end, Los Angeles will be without Mason Plumlee and Brandon Boston Jr.

Denver Nuggets vs. Los Angeles Clippers Key Matchups

Michael Porter Jr 3PT Shooting

Few players can get as hot from three as Michael Porter Jr, but he has shot a combined 7/24 (29.1%) from deep in two matchups against Los Angeles this season. Denver managed to win both games, but it was closer than it should have been due to Porter Jr’s struggles. If he comes out red-hot, then Los Angeles’ defense will be in a bind: either double Jokic and face a barrage of threes or allow Jokic to cook Zubac in isolation.

Clippers Defense

Los Angeles’ defense is third in steals, fourth in deflections, and tenth in opponent turnover rate. Because Denver’s offense is absurdly efficient on a per possession basis, they will need to win the possession battle in order to drastically improve their chances of winning. If Los Angeles can haunt passing lanes and pester ball handlers, then they can slow down the Nuggets.

Braxton has been covering the NBA for Lineups since the 2022 season. He's worked with multiple collegiate coaching staffs regarding analytics and scouting, which has allowed him to understand the game on a deeper level. Braxton is also a contributor at Thunderous Intentions.

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