The daily preview it to the rim with NBA tips as Western Conference rivals Denver Nuggets and LA Clippers complete their season series and strive for a higher playoff position.
13:00 (AEDT), Wed 23rd Mar @ Ball Arena, Denver
History: Played 196: Nuggets 106 V Clippers 90
Last meeting: January 19, 2022: Nuggets 130 d Clippers 128 (OT) at Ball Arena
Final Thoughts: LA Clippers appear to be consigned to the play-in tournament, while Denver Nuggets in a fierce battle to climb back into the top-six that could ultimately see them finish as high as fourth. If the standings remain as they are now, these teams will face off in the play-in tournament for the seventh seed.
The 42-30 Nuggets have slipped to seventh in the West after losing four of their last six. But they remain just three wins behind the fourth-placed Jazz. They went down to the Cavaliers in overtime (119-116) and Celtics (124-104) in the past four days.
Nikola Jokic, in the frame for back-to-back MVP gongs, has carried Denver with averages of 26.1 points, 13.6 rebounds and 8.0 assists per game. Jamal Murray is still some time away from coming back from long-term injury, but Michael Porter Jr is nearing a return. Zeke Nnaji is out today, while JaMychal Green is listed as possible. Monte Morris, Will Barton, Aaron Gordon and Jeff Green are set to start alongside Jokic today.
Clippers stumble towards post-season
The 36-37 Clippers seem locked in to eighth, sitting 6.5 games behind the Nuggets and 4.5 games ahead of the Lakers. They have lost six of their last eight, including their last three against the Cavs in OT (120-111), Raptors (103-100) and Jazz (121-92).
Marquee duo Kawhi Leonard and Paul George are slowly making progress in rehab and remain a chance of suiting up in the post-season. The Clippers will field a settled starting line-up of Jackson, Coffey, Morris, Batum and Zubac today.
It’s been an incredibly close-fought season series so far. The Nuggets grabbed a 103-100 win in Los Angeles on Boxing Day, but the Clippers hit back with an 87-85 home win two weeks later. The teams met for the third time in less than a month in Denver, with the Nuggets prevailing 130-128 in overtime on the back of a monster display from Jokic (49 pts, 14 reb, 10 ast, 3 stl).
The Nuggets are 20-14 at home (13-21 ATS) but have lost their last three at Ball Arena by double-digit margins. The Clippers are 16-22 on the road (19-18-1), winning just one of their last five away.
The Nuggets have far more recent upside, a lot more to play for and they have Jokic. The Clippers are treading water and could be in for a pasting in Mile High City.
Best Bet: Margin – Nuggets 11+ @ $2.61
Same Game Multi: Handicap – Nuggets -6.5; Total – Over 219.5; Nikola Jokic Points – Over 26.5; Aaron Gordon Rebounds – Over 5.5 @ $11.13