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Preview: Nuggets square up against Clippers in potential playoff preview

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The Nuggets will either win or lose their fourth game in the Seeding Games as they face off against the current No. 2 seed in the Western Conference.

Denver Nuggets v LA Clippers Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images

The Nuggets will play the Los Angeles Clippers for their second-to-last Seeding Game, as the battle for the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference draws near to a close.

The Clippers and Nuggets have both put up 3-3 records in the NBA Bubble, treading water in the standings as the teams below them have battled among themselves. They have both had the luxury of being able to rest key members of their rotation, content to lighten the load in preparation of the commencement of the playoffs. With both teams having spent the regular season looking to the playoffs, it’s no wonder that they’ve had similar restarts in Orlando.

The Clippers will welcome back key rotation member Montrezl Harrell, who has rejoined the team after spending time handling a family emergency. His availability for the game against the Nuggets is still uncertain as of time of publishing, but his energy and presence will provide a boost to his teammates regardless of his playing status.

The Nuggets will likely rest some of their players, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be an exciting game, as fans will remember the fight that the Nuggets bench put up against the Los Angeles Lakers in their previous game.

The Basics

Who: Los Angeles Clippers vs Denver Nuggets

When: 9:00 PM ET

How to Watch: ESPN

Rival Blog: Clips Nation

Projected Lineups

Matchups

POS LAC DEN EDGE
POS LAC DEN EDGE
PG Reggie Jackson Jamal Murray Nuggets
SG Landry Shamet Torrey Craig Even
SF Paul George Michael Porter Jr Clippers
PF Marcus Morris Paul Millsap Nuggets
C Ivica Zubac Nikola Jokic Nuggets
BENCH Patrick Patterson, JaMychal Green, Lou Williams, Rodney McGruder, Joakim Noah, Terrance Mann Monte Morris, Jerami Grant, PJ Dozier, Keita Bates-Diop, Tyler Cook, Mason Plumlee, Bol Bol Nuggets

Injuries: Will Barton, Gary Harris, Kawhi Leonard

Three Things to Watch

Load management. If the Clippers continue their trend of alternating games for George and Leonard, don’t expect to see Kawhi Leonard in uniform. That would be nice for the Nuggets fans that would like to see them win this game, because the athletic forward is a nightmare matchup for the Nuggets. If Leonard sits, expect to see limited minutes for Paul Millsap and Jerami Grant, as the coaching staff may decide it’s for the best to make sure those players are fresh for the first round of the playoffs. It sure is nice to have that guarantee in the bag, right?

Shooting. The Nuggets are the home team for this game, which means that you (yes, you!) could be on the video board watching the game tonight. The home teams have shot free throws better in the DisneyWorld bubble, and it would be nice to see the Nuggets put in a good shooting performance to help build their confidence as the regular season concludes. They’ll certainly need to be on the mark against the Jazz, Rockets, Thunder or Mavericks in round one.

Zone defense. The Nuggets busted out a zone defense with Bol Bol at center in their last game. Against the Lakers, that worked for a spell, because they play with two bigs and LeBron isn’t an elite shooter when he fills the point guard role. With Bol’s inexperience against NBA talent, a zone defense simplifies things for him. It would be nice to see the team become more comfortable with some schemes that they don’t normally run, creating a chance for them to potentially deploy it in the playoffs for a few possessions. Maybe the Nuggets will play Bol in the postseason after all.

Prediction

Denver Nuggets 126 - Los Angeles Clippers 119.