On Wednesday, the Los Angeles Clippers (47-23) battle the Denver Nuggets (46-25) in the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex Arena. The Clippers and Nuggets punched their tickets to the playoffs, but the Clippers can lock up the number two seed with a victory over the Nuggets.
A win for Denver still gives them a chance at the two seed, sitting just 1.5 games behind with two games to play. Tipoff for the Western Conference showdown is scheduled for 9 pm EST on ESPN. According to oddsmakers, the Clippers are a -5.5 favorite.
What to Know – Los Angeles Clippers
The Clippers enter the final week of the regular season with a mediocre showing so far in Orlando. Los Angeles is 3-3 since the NBA restart and is coming off a 9-point loss to the Brooklyn Nets, 129-120. All-Star forward Paul George rested and did not play in the game that was the second of back-to-back contests.
Kawhi Leonard (27.1 ppg) and George (21.4 ppg) paced the Clippers offense before the league pause in play and have continued to provide the bulk of the scoring during the games in Orlando.
The Clippers are averaging 118.3 points with the two All-Stars have combined for 38% of the Clippers points scored, even with each taking a turn to sit one of the last two games. Defensively, the Clippers are allowing 113.3 points per game in Orlando.
We expect both Leonard and George to play Wednesday night with the chance to lock up the 2-seed on the line. The Clippers wrap up the regular season on Friday against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
What to Know – Denver Nuggets
Denver is coming off a heartbreaking loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Monday that saw Kyle Kuzma hit a 3-pointer with 0.4 seconds remaining. The Nuggets used their reserves primarily in the final quarter to allow for their starters to rest. Like the Clippers, the Nuggets have also gone 3-3 inside the ‘bubble.’
In Orlando, the Nuggets are averaging 121.3 points per game while surrendering 124.2 points. Leading the offensive charge is big man Nikola Jokic, who leads the team in scoring (20.2), rebounding (9.9), and assists (7.0) per game.
Jamal Murray (18.8 ppg) adds an additional scoring element to a Nuggets offense that features six players averaging in double-figures.
With the 2-seed still insights, look for the Nuggets to play their starters in this one after utilizing their reserves often in Monday’s game. The Nuggets face the Toronto Raptors on Friday in the team’s final regular-season contest.
The Pick is In
This game wraps up Wednesday’s slate of games and should be the highlight of the bunch. The anticipated showdown between two of the top teams in the West should be a thrilling four quarters of action. These two teams split their matchups earlier in the season, so this tilt will serve as the rubber match.
This should be a close battle to the finish, with either team coming out victorious. Give us the Nuggets +5.5 in this one.