Kawhi Leonard has been spectacular for the Clippers this NBA season

NBA Preview: In-Form Clippers Looking to Send the Nuggets Packing

Denver Nuggets vs Los Angeles Clippers

The Los Angeles Clippers are now one step away towards the NBA Western Conference Finals with their latest victory over the Denver Nuggets.

Kawhi Leonard almost notched his first playoff triple-double with 30 points, 11 rebounds, and nine assists, while he was backstopped by Montrezl Harrell who had 15 markers days after winning his first-ever Sixth Man of the Year trophy.

With the loss, the Nuggets have found themselves in familiar territory. It can be noted that back in the first round, Denver were also facing a 3-1 deficit vs Utah.

However, through the spectacular play of Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic, not only did we see a comeback of epic proportions – we’ve also witnessed a couple of young stars growing in front of our own eyes.

Of course, the Clippers are a whole different animal compared to the Jazz, but the Nuggets will try their best to pull it off once more with their season on the line.

Can Mike Malone and his men do the impossible anew? Or will the Clippers move on and await the winner of the Lakers-Rockets series after this weekend?

 

Talking Points

Jamal Murray needs to step up big time

Nikola Jokic has done his part for Denver by doing almost everything on offence, but his other teammates have been inconsistent lately.

Coming into the series, the Clippers’ coaching staff probably had Jamal Murray in their crosshairs given his otherworldly performance against the Jazz in the first round.

The University of Kentucky product had multiple 50-point games in the said series, and he held his own against Donovan Mitchell.

So far, the Clippers have done a good job in slowing down the sweet-shooting guard. With multiple capable defenders in their roster, this is not surprising at all.

Murray only had one game to where he scored more than 20 points, and that resulted to their lone win in this series.

His shooting percentages are left a lot to be desired as he has yet to reach at least 50-per cent in all four games. It doesn’t help either when he averages 3.67 turnovers per game.

On the other hand, Michael Porter Jr. continues to be the x-factor for Denver.

After a pedestrian performance in Game 1, the young swingman had encouraging performances for the team. He’s averaging 14.7 points per game in the last three matches despite coming off the bench.

To beat a championship contender in the Clippers, the Nuggets would have to be at their very best every game in order to give themselves a chance.

 

Kawhi Leonard needs his Robin

Paul George has been inconsistent since the NBA restart

Paul George brings the ball up during the Clippers’ game against the Denver Nuggets

Kawhi Leonard has been nothing but spectacular for the whole 2020 postseason. The do-it-all forward is averaging gaudy numbers of 29.1 points, 9.7 rebounds, and 5.3 assists per game.

But if the Clippers would want to go all the way, The Klaw would definitely need consistent support from his teammates.

One of them should come from his co-star in Paul George, who’s had bouts of inconsistency for the whole playoffs.

The lanky forward is more than capable of producing video games numbers and some NBA 2020 highlights. However, in the bubble, his campaign so far has been similar to the story Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

On some nights he would be “Playoff P”, but “Pandemic P” would show up more often particularly on the offensive end.

George would be hounded by shooting woes. It’s a good thing for him, however, that the Clippers are stacked enough to pick up the slack.

To his credit though, George has done a good job in making an impact on the other end. And expect him to get even better since he has shut himself off from distractions.

The Clippers are keen on closing out the series strong this weekend while making history in the progress.

 

History

Generally speaking, the teams who have gone up 3-1 in a playoff series have been backed by the NBA 2020 odds at 74-per cent to move on to the next round.

Only a few teams have managed to come back to win from the said deficit, which includes the 2016 Cleveland Cavaliers and the Denver Nuggets this year.

So far in this series, the Clippers have the advantage in terms of free throw attempts. The said disparity was evident in Game 3 to where Los Angeles edged Denver, 26-10.

In Game 4, the Clippers also had the advantage down low, as they’ve tallied 38 points in the paint compared to the Nuggets’ 22.

 

What are the odds?

The SBOTOP odds point to a victory for the Clippers, but expect the Nuggets to not roll over just like in the first game. A good place to start would be placing your wagers on -4.50 @ 1.96.

This next game will be a matter of which supporting cast will produce more than the other, as stars like Nikola Jokic and Kawhi Leonard will cancel each other out.

Whoever wins the matchup between Jamal Murray and Paul George will most likely determine the outcome of this match.

Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.

 

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