clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Preview: Denver Nuggets vs. Los Angeles Clippers

New, comments

The new look Nuggets take the court for the first time this preseason in a matchup against the Los Angeles Clippers. It's the first look at Malone on the Denver sideline, Mudiay in the Blue and Gold, and the beginning of a new era.

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to the first game of the 2015 preseason for your Denver Nuggets!


There's not a lot to talk about - no losing streaks to snap, no revenge factor for earlier misdeeds, no momentum to carry. But the lack of games played prior to tonight doesn't mean there isn't anything to discuss! Here are a few things I'll be looking for tonight in the match-up against the California Dinghies.


Reason Zero


It's Emmanuel Mudiay's first preseason game as a Denver Nugget - what more reason do you need to try to watch? Mudiay's first preseason game is against the standard at the position, Chris Paul. The Clippers may not play their veteran point guard extended minutes, but the Clippers are just as excited as the Nuggets to see what their new team looks like for this season. That means that Paul and Mudiay will have a few possessions where they'll square off against each other. If Mudiay is able to shimmy Paul and beat him off the dribble to get into the lane, I'm sure I won't be the only Nuggets fan clapping my hands and shouting for joy at the television. 

Small Ball

The Nuggets are likely going to have to be effective with small-ball lineups early in the season while they wait for Jusuf Nurkic to return to full health following knee surgery during the offseason. That means playing Danilo Gallinari or Wilson Chandler at power forward, with a big like Darrell Arthur or Kenneth Faried playing center. That likely means that LA will stand for Lay-up Attempts tonight, because those combinations aren't going to set any records for rim protection. I'm of the belief that Kenneth Faried's ceiling in the league is as a dominant rebounder at power forward and a turnover-creating dervish at center in small-ball lineups. I don't expect Faried to block a bunch of shots as a small-ball 5, but I would like to see him help spark a few fastbreaks by forcing an errant pass or helping knock the ball loose on a trap. Faried's first points in his career were on an breakaway dunk, and I'm willing to wager his first points this season come on a breakaway dunk as well.

Walk the Line

Johnny Cash is a bad man, and is known for singing the "Folsom Prison Blues." Another classic Cash single is "Walk the Line," and the Nuggets should keep that tune in mind against the Clippers. The Clippers averaged 21.8 personal fouls per game last season, and allowed opponents to shoot 35 percent from the 3-point line. For the Nuggets to have a modern, efficient offense, they need to be able to make 3-pointers and earn trips to the free throw line. Will Barton and Gary Harris need to show off what a summer of practice did for their perimeter shooting. Danilo Gallinari and Emmanuel Mudiay need to show off their ability to get to the rim, draw contact, and make their free throws. Doc Rivers isn't going to want his star players to get too many minutes, and the Nuggets should feel confident driving the lane against Cole Aldrich and Chuck Hayes. There's always a nice ice bath waiting at the end of the game.

Prediction: Denver 106 - Los Angeles 104, with Mudiay scoring the game-winner.

Editor's note: The game will be televised on NBA-TV and begins at 8:30 MT.  The Nuggets will also be facing off against former 5th pick in the draft, Nikola Tskitishvili!

Read what the enemy is saying about the game over at Clips Nation.