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Western Conference NBA action tips tonight as the Denver Nuggets visit the Los Angeles Clippers.
Heading into the season’s final stage, elite rivals Denver and LAC jockey for second place among a log-jammed Western field. Visiting Denver owns a slim half-game lead over tonight’s opponent while standing 40-18 overall. The Nuggets are 7-3 in their last 10, including two consecutive victories. Among the league’s hotter teams, Denver is 6-4 ATS in their last ten.
Meanwhile, host Los Angeles is 6-4 in their last ten, while also winning two straight. The Clippers’ latest success came vs. heavy dogs Phoenix and Memphis. Tonight’s challenge, however, will test LAC’s rising 39-19 record opposite the one team standing between them and their Staples Center co-tenant.
During the teams’ lone seasonal meeting Jan. 12, Nikola Jokic’s 20 pt 15 reb game pushed host Denver +11 ATS while upsetting LAC 114-104. In defeat, Kawhi Leonard added 30 as the contest preceded Paul George’s second return from injury.
Denver aims to increase slim standings lead vs. LACContinuing their upward mobility under Mike Malone, Denver weights teams under the league’s deepest roster. Behind their balanced cast, disruptive length and athleticism gives Nikola Jokic and company space to add enough offense 110.7 to fortify its #5 rated defense (106.8). From home, the Nuggets held underdog opponents Minnesota and Detroit in check.
Showcasing that depth, Jeremi Grant added a career-best 29 Tuesday as Denver netted 57-47 shooting vs. the Pistons. Efficiency has driven Malone’s crew this year: behind controlled pace, the Nuggets add 46 percent FG and boast top-ten pace adjusted offensive and defensive figures. Amid another star campaign, Jokic adds 20-10-6 as his supporting cast remains an endless resource -10 Nuggets contribute rotation-worthy numbers and have stamina built from training in altitude.
Denver is 17-11 away.
Clippers seek retribution for earlier season lossLed by rapid improvement since Paul George returned to couple with Kawhi Leonard, the Clippers have hung around the league’s upper rung for months. And now as the stretch run approaches, marquee support talents Lou Williams, Pat Beverley, Montrezl Harrell, Landry Shamet and Marcus Morris solidify a roster within NBA Championship striking range. Kawhi Leonard added 24 Wednesday as LAC showed versatility on a night Paul George (11 Pts) underperformed. Capping their 102-92 win, nine Clippers added six-plus points while beating the spread vs. plucky Phoenix.
Overall, Los Angeles averages 115.6 and allows 109.8. When pace adjusted those numbers rank #6 NBA. Multiple time Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard stamps his imprint by averaging 27.1 ppg as Paul George adds 21 and ageless Lou Williams 19.1. The Clippers also push the pace while buzzing around other teams on each end to leave atop the scoreboard most nights. Tonight, interior defense is crucial as Jokic presents matchup issues again vs. LAC.
- Clippers are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games following an ATS win.
- Clippers are 2-8 ATS in their last 10 Friday games.
- Clippers are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 home games vs. a team with a road winning % of greater than .600.
- Trends courtesy of Covers.com
- Nuggets are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games following a straight up win.
- Nuggets are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Boasting a 23-6 home record, while 17-12 ATS from Staples, the Clippers are hard to bet against tonight. However, they are playing an excellent Denver squad which stands 17-12 away. Further, the Nuggets defeated LAC earlier this year while holding Kawhi’s potent supporting cast in check. In this tight pick between evenly matched title contenders, Nikola Jokic’s unique matchup dilemma will push Denver past the spread, which currently sits at 5.5. Behind Jokic’s playmaking and interior presence, take the Nuggets ATS tonight.
Full-Game Total Pick
I’ll take the Under in tonight’s contest, matching the teams’ first encounter, as Denver’s plodding pace frustrates a spring-loaded Clippers advance. Expect Denver’s switchy, long defenders to be in LAC’s collective chest all night cutting off lanes and shrinking the paint: this factor should keep Leonard and George from their usual productivity. In turn, carefully surveying offensive options, Denver will score on their time. When play ends tonight in this marquee western matchup between the Denver Nuggets and Los Angeles Clippers, take the Under.