The LA Clippers are desperate to finally get a win in the James Harden era, but standing next in their way are Nikola Jokic and the defending champion Denver Nuggets.
Catch the game tomorrow at 11:00 AM, Manila time.
HOME: Denver Nuggets (8-2, 6-0 HOME)
Projected starting five:
- Jamal Murray (out) / Reggie Jackson
- Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
- Michael Porter Jr.
- Aaron Gordon
- Nikola Jokic
The Nuggets got their four-game winning streak snapped on Monday against the rising and pesky Houston Rockets, 107-104. But, all in all, things are still looking good for the defending champions. They still sit atop the West.
This next matchup also has Nuggets as clear favorites even without Jamal Murray (hamstring), considering they are a perfect 6-0 at home and the Clippers are at 0-5. Two-time MVP Nikola Jokic is playing like his usual self, and would be in a favorable position to pile points and dimes all over the Clipps. He’s averaging 29.8 points, 13.7 rebounds, and 8.3 assists per game on an efficient 60.6% shooting.
With Murray sidelined, Jokic has Michael Porter Jr., Aaron Gordon, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and Reggie Jackson as scoring support. MPJ, in particular, has been killing it as of late, putting up 23.0 points, 8.6 boards, and 1.4 blocks over his last five outings.
Denver is scoring 114.8 points and allowing 106.1 per game.
AWAY: LA Clippers (3-6, 0-5 AWAY)
Projected starting five:
- Russell Westbrook
- James Harden
- Paul George
- Kawhi Leonard
- Ivica Zubac
The Clippers are on a five-game skid, with the last four already featuring James Harden on the court. It’s been rough. The difference before and after his arrival is night and day. They started 3-1, scored 120.5 PPG on 51.6% shooting and only allow 104.0 PPG, but with Harden in, it’s 0-4 thus far, scoring is down to 104.3 PPG while allowing 115.0 allowed points per contest.
Harden is looking miles away from his norm too. He’s posting just 13.5 points and 4.3 assists, and doesn’t appear to have much confidence in his shots or ability to create separation. He was especially terrible in Monday’s 105-101 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies as he finished with a -28 plus-minus on a four-point game. However, now that he’s hit rock bottom (I think), maybe, just maybe, he wakes up from his horrendous slump.
Also, to be fair, Kawhi Leonard was awful in that fourth quarter vs. Memphis as well, going scoreless and missing all of his three attempts. Paul George was good, but he also had his share of quiet games.
But, then again, such struggles ignite the best out of stars. Don’t be surprised if the embarrassing defeat fires up the team.
Handicap: The Nuggets (-5.5) slightly miss at covering the spread.
Over/Under: The total goes over 219.