The Los Angeles Clippers won game 1 of this series in a rout by the score of 120-97 before losing in game 2 110-102. The biggest difference in those two games for the Clippers was the amount of 3’s they were making. In Game 1, the Clippers hit 10-24 from beyond the arc for a respectable 41%. In Game 2 the Clippers hit only 28% of their 3’s and didn’t get a single point from Kawhi Leonard in the 4th quarter. For the Nuggets, game 1 was a disaster and game 2 was a resounding redemption. Now the series is tied at 1-1.
For the Clippers to win, they’re going to need big games from Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. Kawhi is averaging 25 points per game against the Nuggets. Paul George is averaging 25.5 points per game against Denver. The Nuggets will need to get solid performances from Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic. Murray is only averaging little over 13 points per game against the Clippers while Jokic averages 19 points per game against LA. There are several X factors in this series for both teams. For the Clippers the X factors are Lou Williams, Montrezl Harrell, and Marcus Morris. For the Nuggets, the X factors are Paul Millsape, Jeremi Grant, Michael Porter Jr, and Gary Harris. Anything that these 7 players can give will greatly impact their teams’ chances of winning.
For the Nuggets to win, Murray and Jokic are going to have to come up big. Jokic has a sprained right wrist and either may not play or be very effective in game 3. Plumlee will have to play superb if Jokic is out. The Nuggets will need to D up on the 3 point shot and get offensive help from their other starters in Jeremi Grant, Paul Millsap, or Gary Harris. For the Clippers to win this series, Paul George and Kawhi Leonard are going to have to be stellar. Additionally, the Clippers will need big production from their more so reliable than not bench. Lou Williams and 6th man of the year Montrezl Harrell are going to leave their imprints on every game.
All in all, despite the Clippers being heavy favorites, the Nuggets have held their own. They were favored to lose by 9.5 points last game but won by 9. The Nuggets have shown that they can more than hang with the Clippers. Let’s see which dynamic duo steps up, that of George and Leonard or that of Jokic and Murray. Whichever duo does rise to the occasion will most likely lead their team to victory in this series. If Jokic is out, the Nuggets will desperately miss him. The injury could cost them the series. The aforementioned other Nuggets above will have to step up. Jokic has not been ruled out as of this writing, but if so things will be very difficult for Denver.
Enjoy the games!