For the fourth and final time this season, the Nuggets and Clippers will meet in the Mile High City. As it stands, Denver is leading LAC 2-1 on the series and they look to stay ahead.
In our last meeting back on January 21st, the Nuggets got the big 123-98 win over the Clippers, LA was without both Chris Paul (thumb) and Blake Griffin (knee). That night, the Clippers were shooting 41.7% from the field, 31.3% from beyond the arc, and 8/8 from the free throw line.
The Nuggets, on the other hand, were red hot as they shot 52.9% from the field, 41.7% from downtown, and 80.8% (21/26) from the line. We had 58 of our 123 points in the paint, 15 fast break points, and 10 turnovers.
“Our defense has been the difference in our playing at a much higher level and we’ll need that, regardless of who we play in these last fifteen and hopefully into the playoffs.” -Malone, post practice
The Nuggets will be the shorthanded team tonight, as Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler, and Darrell Arthur are all out. Expect Mason Plumlee and Juancho Hernangomez to step up, especially if Kenneth Faried is not up to playing tonight.
“Him [Plumlee] and Jokic on the court together are playing at a high level on both ends of the floor.” -Malone, following Wednesday’s practice
Luckily for the Nuggets, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan did not travel with the team today and will not be present for this matchup, making this a must-win game more so now than ever.
The Nuggets are two games ahead of Portland and three ahead of Dallas. The Nuggets need the W tonight to keep their cushion on the 8th seed in the West, especially before a home and home against Houston on Saturday and Monday.
Nuggets Stats: Clippers Stats:
PPG: 111 PPG: 107.8
FG%: 46.7 FG%: 46.9
RPG: 46.2 RPG: 42.9
APG: 24.9 APG: 22.4
Last 10: 7-3 Last 10: 5-5
Keys to the game, courtesy of Sean English:
- This will be the second night of a back to back for the Clippers. Bring the energy.
- Defense: In 4 of the last 5 wins for the Nuggets, they have held their opponent under 100 points.
- Will Barton: While he has had his struggles lately, he poured in 22 points off of the bench against the Lakers. The Nuggets need a spark for their second unit.
Danilo Gallinari (knee) OUT
Darrell Arthur (rest) OUT
Wilson Chandler (groin) OUT
Kenneth Faried (back) questionable
No known injuries