The Denver Nuggets and the LA Clippers play their third and final matchup of the regular season. The Clippers won the first meeting then the Nuggets won the second. Who gets the win in this rubber match?
Catch this game live on Sunday, May 2, at 10 AM, Manila time
HOME TEAM: LA Clippers (43-21, 24-8 at home)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: Reggie Jackson
- SG: Paul George
- SF: Luke Kennard
- PF: Marcus Morris Sr.
- C: Ivica Zubac
The Clippers will look to get out of their slump when they face Denver. They are coming off losses to the New Orleans Pelicans (120-103) and Phoenix Suns (109-101) on the road. The Clippers will have had rested for two full days by the time they square off with the Nuggets.
That’s a terrific sign for those looking to bet straight up on LA. The Clippers are 6-2-0 this season when playing after 2-3 days of rest. They are also a decent 4-4 against the spread in such contests. However, the Clippers will try to improve on those records this Sunday likely without Kawhi Leonard still. The Klaw has missed the past five LA games due to a right foot injury, though Ty Lue is keeping his hopes up that his star would return this Sunday.
If Leonard gets ruled out again, the Clippers still have Paul George to lead a decent unit that also features Reggie Jackson, Terance Mann, and Marcus Morris Sr. The Clippers have averaged 112.7 points while shooting 47.8 FG% in their last 10 games, during which they allowed their opponents to score only 109.8 points on 45.7% shooting. They won the first meeting with Denver, 121-108, on the road back in December.
ROAD TEAM: Denver Nuggets (42-21, 18-11 on the road)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: Facundo Campazzo
- SG: PJ Dozier
- SF: Michael Porter Jr.
- PF: Aaron Gordon
- C: Nikola Jokic
The Nuggets are missing the services of Jamal Murray and Will Barton but those absences have not stopped the team from winning in bunches. In fact, Denver has won four in a row going into the match against the Clippers, while coming up with a 2-2 record against the spread in those games.
Denver’s continued success is made possible by other players stepping up and helping Nikola Jokic carry the load. Michael Porter Jr. has averaged 30.3 points in the last four games, while PJ Dozier and Facundo Campazzo have put up 12.5 and 10.8 points over the stretch, respectively. At the end of the day, it’s Jokic who will be the biggest headache for the Clippers, with what he could do with the ball.
He’s averaging 26.2 points on 56.8 FG%, 10.9 rebounds, and 8.6 assists per game this season. Without Serge Ibaka for the Clippers, there’s really no capable defensive big the team can feel confident in matching up opposite the Serbian. The Nuggets won the last matchup between these teams on April 2 in Hollywood, 101-94.
The Nuggets as the road underdog here against a possible Kawhi-Leonard Clippers is so appetizing. But I’m going with well-rested Clippers here. Take the Clippers to win and cover -4.
The Nuggets and the Clippers are in the bottom six in the NBA in terms of pace. Take the Under (224.5).