In another critical midseason matchup in which both teams are shorthanded, the L.A. Clippers (20-21) host the Denver Nuggets (20-18) Tuesday night. Read on for our full Clippers vs. Nuggets game preview.

Clippers vs. Nuggets Game Information

Where: Arena, Los Angeles, California
When: 7:30 p.m. PT
How to Tune in: NBA TV, Bally Sports SoCal, AM 570 KLAC, KWKW

Projected Starting Lineups:
L.A. Clippers: Reggie Jackson – Amir Coffey – Nicolas Batum – Marcus Morris Sr. – Ivica Zubac
Denver Nuggets: Monte Morris – Austin Rivers – Aaron Gordon – JaMychal Green – Nikola Jokić

Injury Report:
L.A. Clippers:
 Paul George – OUT (Right Elbow UCL Tear), Isaiah Hartenstein – OUT (Left Ankle Sprain), Luke Kennard – OUT (Health & Safety Protocols), Kawhi Leonard – OUT (Right Knee; ACL – Injury Recovery), Jason Preston – OUT (Right Foot – Injury Recovery), Justise Winslow – OUT (Health & Safety Protocols)
Denver Nuggets: Will Barton – OUT (Health & Safety Protocols), Vlatko Cančar – OUT (Right Foot Surgery), P.J. Dozier – OUT (Left Knee; ACL – Surgery), Markus Howard – OUT (Left Knee Sprain), Jamal Murray – OUT (Left Knee; ACL – Injury Recovery), Michael Porter Jr. – OUT (Lumbar Spine Surgery)

The Big Picture

As is life for the Clippers this season, the mission at hand remains simple — try to give yourself a chance to win on a nightly basis. In the team’s back-to-back set over the weekend, we’ve pretty much seen the best-and-worst-case scenarios of what this version of the Clippers is capable of. LAC was heavily outmatched by the surging Grizzlies on Saturday but bounced right back by blowing out a disappointing Atlanta team less than 24 hours later. Without the 213 star duo, the Clippers have shown that their best right now just isn’t enough on certain nights, but the effort level has surely been there consistently.

A case in which the lack of the Clippers’ top-end talent felt insurmountable was on Dec. 26, when Denver came in and took a hard-fought 103-100 win in DTLA. That was the first game the Clippers played after receiving the news about Paul George’s elbow, and as the clear best player on the floor, Nikola Jokić stole the show down the stretch. However, with the emergence of Amir Coffey, as well as Marcus Morris Sr. and Eric Bledsoe finding their grooves, there’s good reason to believe LAC should be able to hold their ground this time.

The Antagonist

Ultimately, the story remains sadly similar for both of these teams at the moment. While each would undoubtedly be able to contend for Western Conference supremacy at full strength, for now, they’ll continue to try and just give themselves a chance for a spot come playoff time.

It’s been just over two weeks since these two undermanned teams last jumped it up, and unfortunately, things haven’t gotten much better health-wise for either side. The Nuggets were without Aaron Gordon last time they faced LAC, but will essentially be swapping him in for Will Barton tonight, who entered Health and Safety Protocols on Monday. As such, Denver will have to channel that oh-so-familiar “next man up” mentality, likely slotting one of Facundo Campazzo or Austin Rivers into the opening backcourt spot, while depending on Bones Hyland and Davon Reed to deliver once again off the bench.

Clippers vs. Nuggets Game Notes

  • Start Bled Over Reg?: We’ve long discussed the center battles this season, but how about at the PG1 spot? As covered in the latest episode of TLTJTP, with Paul George and Kawhi Leonard out, Eric Bledsoe’s downhill, facilitating skillset is especially needed. Reggie Jackson, who unquestionably makes more sense as a starter with a fully healthy squad, has struggled a bit to get his shot going when taking on an elevated role and workload in the offense. While the starting lineup will likely not need to make a change for at least a few more games, it’s certainly an interesting thing to track, especially from a minutes distribution standpoint. On Sunday against the Hawks, Bledsoe did play more than Jackson despite coming off the bench and was in complete control of the offense. Ultimately, having the minutes go more towards the guy who’s having the better game is the key thing.
  • The Joker: You likely don’t need me to outline that the reigning MVP of the association, Nikola Jokić, is a problem. Well, just like with the James Hardens and the Luka Dončićs of the world, you might not be able to stop them one-on-one, but you can’t also have them getting other guys involved. The last time the two teams met, Jokić nailed some big shots, but also made the Clippers pay when they sent extra bodies on him. Barton being out means there’s one less major weapon for Jokić to go to, but Rivers, Reed, and Monte Morris are just a few of the names making up Denver’s depth of steady, capable contributors active tonight.
  • James Ennis “Revenge” Game: As an alum of Long Beach State, it was fun to see Ennis III on this squad for the handful of games he was here. Him not sticking around for the red and blue certainly makes sense given the amount of wings LAC has back now, but that doesn’t take away the fact that the man has now gone from playing against the team for the Nets, playing for the team against the Nets, and playing against the team again in the same season. That is also coupled with the Nuggets reportedly also adding DeMarcus Cousins to a roster already with Rodney McGruder, JaMychal Green, and Jeff Green. Tonight should be fun.

Feel free to stick around and chat down below as this article’s comment section will serve as our live game thread tonight against the Denver Nuggets. Sign up for a free account and join the conversation!

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Ralston Dacanay

Ralston Dacanay

Ralston joined 213Hoops as a game coverage writer in March 2021. A class of 2020 alum of California State University, Long Beach, he graduated with a B.A. in Journalism and a minor in Finance.

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