The daily NBA preview takes it to the rim with tips as the Denver Nuggets look for a statement win at home over the LA Clippers.
12:00 (AEDT), Mon 13th Jan @ Pepsi Center, Denver
History: Played 180: Nuggets 97 V Clippers 83
Last meeting: February 24, 2019: Nuggets 123 d Clippers 96 at Pepsi Center
Final Thoughts: Two of the NBA Western Conference’s heavyweights square off for the first time this season. The 27-12 LA Clippers are second in the West, but the 26-12 Denver Nuggets will leapfrog them with a home victory.
The Clippers’ championship credentials have come under the microscope after losing five of their last 12 games.
A heavy 140-114 home loss to the Grizzlies had the critics baying. Subsequent wins over the struggling Knicks (135-132) and Warriors (109-100) haven’t exactly quelled the doubters. But Kawhi Leonard’s starring role (36 pts, 9 reb, 5 ast, 3 stl) in the latter was a major positive after sitting out the Knicks clash.
On the flipside, fellow two-way superstar Paul George missed the Golden State encounter and is set to miss this showdown.
The Nuggets have been similarly patchy, winning only five of the last nine.
Nikola Jokic (33 pts, 6 reb, 7 ast) – who dropped 47 points in their previous win over the Hawks – inspired a significant 107-106 road win over the Mavericks. But they inexplicably followed that up with a 111-103 home loss to the lowly Cavaliers yesterday.
Jokic’s right-hand men – Will Barton, Jamal Murray and Gary Harris – need to put it together more frequently for the Nuggets to be a title-contending force.
Nuggets hold rivalry edge
The Nuggets have won seven of their last 10 against the Clippers, including four of the last five at home. The Clippers’ two visits to Denver last season resulted in defeat by 20-plus margins.
The Nuggets are a solid 15-5 at home, though losses to the Pelicans and Cavs in their last three in Denver were unflattering. Meanwhile, the Clippers are just 10-9 away from Staples. But they have won six of their last eight on the road.
Containing Kawhi is a big ask for the Nuggets. But with George out – and given the inconsistency of both teams – siding with the hosts looks the best bet at healthy odds.
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