The Clippers’ difficult stretch of games continues with a home showdown against the Denver Nuggets.
Where: Crypto.com Arena, Los Angeles, CA
When: 7:30 PM PT
How to Watch: Clippervison, Bally Sports SoCal, NBA TV
Projected Starting Lineups
Clippers: James Harden – Terance Mann – Paul George – Kawhi Leonard – Ivica Zubac
Nuggets: Reggie Jackson – Justin Holiday – Kentavious Caldwell-Pope – Michael Porter Jr. – Nikola Jokic
Clippers: Mason Plumlee out (MCL), Brandon Boston Jr. out (quad)
Nuggets: Jamal Murray out (hamstring), Vlatko Cancar out (knee), Aaron Gordon questionable (heel)
The Big Picture
The Clippers are coming off one of their best wins of the season, arguably their very best. After a lackluster performance against the New Orleans Pelicans the day after Thanksgiving, the Clippers needed a bounce-back game and they accomplished just that.
They pretty much dominated the Dallas Mavericks from the opening tip and managed to win by double digits in a game where both Kawhi Leonard and James Harden had off shooting nights.
While the Clippers did get big scoring nights from Paul George and Terance Mann, it was their defense that stifled the Mavs, including long-time Clipper killer Luka Doncic.
The Clippers are clearly still trying to work out some kinks since the Harden trade and the subsequent move of Russell Westbrook to the bench. Some games things are going to flow very well. Other games are going to look clunky and out of rhythm. But they have a decent chance at stringing together a mini-streak with another home game.
The Denver Nuggets come to town reeling a little bit. They’ve lost Jamal Murray for the time being as he deals with a hamstring injury, though he does look close to returning. They’ve gone 5-5 in their last ten games after starting the season looking like they were locked in to repeat as champions.
Even so, this is not a team to take lightly. They may or may not have Aaron Gordon available as he sat Sunday night against the Spurs due to heel issues. But the man in the middle, Nikola Jokic, is still available. As he goes, so do the Nuggets. He’s coming off a 39-point, 11-rebound, and nine assist performance against the Spurs.
Getting off to a strong start like the Mavericks game is imperative. The Clippers have a chance to make a statement here with back to back wins over good teams. They have a pretty clear advantage with their bench.
This isn’t going to be an easy game and even with their recent skid and injury issues, the Nuggets are definitely capable of coming in and grabbing a win. Stopping Jokic is no easy feat and 28 other teams in the league have the same problem with no real solution. What is key though is making sure the Nuggets shooters don’t get going off Jokic’s passing. A win likely hinges on keeping the Nuggets role players in check.