After a couple of earth-shattering games on Friday night, the NBA’s playoffs continue on Saturday night with the Denver Nuggets tipping off against the LA Clippers for Game 2 of their Western Conference semifinal series. The Clippers have the 1-0 advantage headed into Game 2 but don’t count the Nuggets out just yet.
Neither the Clippers nor the Nuggets have any new injuries to report, which is an oddity inside the NBA bubble, but a good one for a change. Of course, the Nuggets will still be without one of their top scorers in Will Barton, but at this point, they should be fairly used to not having Barton.
I fully expect the Nuggets to bring their all and give us a more competitive game in Game 2 than they did in Game 1’s 23-point blowout. This one tips off at 9 pm ET on TNT.
The Nuggets certainly impressed a few people in their first-round defeat of the Utah Jazz. Jamal Murray finally got his chance to shine bright again on the national stage, and boy did he ever.
That being said, Murray nearly disappeared in Game 1 of this series. He scored 12 points and had six assists, and was a -18 while on the floor.
Murray’s fellow superstar in Nikola Jokic was -24 while on the floor and only put up 15 points and three rebounds. Jokic can’t let a team like the Clippers dominate him in the paint that way.
If it continues, this series will end in four or five games with the Nuggets not having a chance. They need Murray moving the ball, and they need Jokic’s presence in the paint.
Playoff P? Playoff K!
The Clippers have seen a very good Paul George, but they have yet to unlock the mythical “Playoff P.” However, it seems they have unlocked the “Playoff K” in Kawhi Leonard. Not to downplay what George has done for the team in the playoffs, but the obvious leader has been Leonard.
Leonard put up 29 points and was a +20 while on the floor in Game 1. George put up 19 himself and was +23 while on the floor.
The dynamic duo can play at both ends of the floor, so look for them to continue and bottle up Murray and the boys. Ninety-four feet of defense from those two can be tough to beat for any team, let alone a young one.
So which of these teams is going to make you rich? The Clippers are favored by 9.5 headed into Game 2, with a game total of 222 set. I would personally stay away from the total until the Nuggets prove themselves in the series.
As for the 9.5-point spread, the Nuggets have the talent and ability to make Game 2 a contest, at least. Even if it isn’t a battle, they should keep this one close.
The pick here is the Nuggets +9.5. Good luck, and prepare for a great matchup.