In a battle of teams with exciting openers, the LA Clippers will be in Denver to face the Nuggets. This will mark the fifth and final game of the Christmas game slate, and one that perhaps has the most interesting storyline. The Clippers blew a 3-1 lead to Denver in the postseason a year ago.
The Clippers came out as if it never happened in their opener. They took care of the Lakers, playing well down the stretch to secure the victory.
Starting 1-0 was key under a new coach in Ty Lue, making sure everybody knew that they could secure victories again. Now, they look to make it 2-0 and exact revenge on their old nemesis.
Denver blew a game pretty horribly against the Kings on Wednesday night. It’s honestly comical that they lost to the Kings in a game where Jamal Murray had just one basket, and a Nikola Jokic turnover is what cost them the contest.
When have they ever lost a game because of a mistake by Jokic? There really is a first for everything.
The spread for this game has the Clippers as 2.5-point favorites. The over/under is set at 224.
Clippers Seek 2-0 Start
It’s always nice when you can win your first two games of the season, especially when they’re both against teams that you are competing directly with for the top spots in your conference.
By showing up and playing a strong game Friday night, the Clippers will let the Nuggets know that they do not live “rent free” in their heads anymore.
When Kawhi Leonard and Paul George are both locked in, the Clippers are likely to beat their opponents. The issue in the playoffs was that they both went cold at the same time when the team needed them most.
The Clippers’ other players didn’t step up, and that was that. An exit that made sure the franchise is still yet to reach the conference finals.
They’ll need to limit Jokic and keep Murray from finding his rhythm in this one. Sharing the wealth on offense will help them as well.
Nuggets Seeking Their First Win
The Nuggets’ season opener ended with a Buddy Hield tip-in at the buzzer, with all of the Kings players running off the floor in unison. Nobody wants to see that happen to them, especially on their home floor. So, there is no question that the Nuggets will hope to avoid another tight finish.
The rotation is a bit different from the bubble, with Will Barton back and healthy and Jerami Grant now playing in Detroit. The Nuggets also gave some minutes to Facundo Campazzo and Isaiah Hartenstein, who were not members of the team a season ago. Denver was without JaMychal Green.
Look for Murray to be more aggressive in this one and for Jokic to continue to facilitate. Jokic had a triple-double in the opening loss and is likely to put up another one.
Nuggets Top Clippers For Fourth Time in a Row
The Nuggets will find a way to outlast the Clippers in this one. It will be a late-night finish, but Denver will secure the victory.
Free Pick: Denver -2.5