The Denver Nuggets and the Los Angeles Clippers face off as both teams start to gear up for the regular season. After this matchup, the Nuggets only have one remaining preseason game and then the regular season kicks off on the 19th. A win against the Clippers tonight is not imperative but being competitive might be. This Clipper team is hungry and healthy again coupled with the new addition of former All-Star John Wall, so they could prove to be more than a formidable opponent for Denver throughout the season.
Denver is still being careful with Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic, so they both might sit out again tonight. The Clippers have been playing their starters the last couple of games, but even if they do, the Nuggets reserves showed they can compete against anybody which was evident on Monday against the Suns.
Who: Denver Nuggets @ Los Angeles Clippers
When: 8:30 PM MST
Where: Toyota Arena
How to Watch/Listen: Altitude, Altitude Sports Radio 92.5FM
Rival Blog: Clips Nation
Projected Starting Lineups:
Clippers — John Wall, Paul George, Kawhi Leonard, Marcus Morris Sr., Ivica Zubc
Nuggets — Bones Hyland, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Michael Porter Jr., Aaron Gordon, Zeke Nnaji
Three Things to Watch
A bounce-back game from MPJ
MPJ had his worst game of the preseason so far on Monday. He shot 2-11 from the field and 1-5 from three along with two turnovers. He is too talented to make that type of performance a habit, but the Clippers have excellent defenders with length to hinder his offensive momentum. I would expect the coaching staff to get in his ear and tell him to try and create some easy layups early so he can get a feel for the game. The Clippers have so many options to send at him throughout the game. Paul George, Kawhi Leonard, Marcus Morris Sr., and Nicolas Batum. If MPJ can get his shot off against any of those defenders consistently tonight, that is an excellent sign moving forward.
Speed up the pace
In Denver’s last two games, they have not been able to get out on the fast break. Against Phoenix, they could only collect seven fast break points, and against Chicago, they were outscored 23-5 in that department. Clearly, there are new additions to this team, so the chemistry might not be there to make split-second decisions after a defensive rebound. I would expect it to be an area of focus after two underwhelming performances in that area, so look for them to eclipse double-digit fast break points tonight.
A calm and collected Christian Braun
Braun is a very talented rookie with the size and athleticism of the modern, sought-after guard. He shows flashes of his potential, but his mind seems to be running a thousand miles a minute. One possession he will have a nice, aggressive move to the basket but the next, he is passive and seemingly nervous with the basketball. This is not a major concern because he is a rookie, but he just needs more minutes to iron out the kinks, and he should get plenty tonight. Look for him to be aggressive rebounding the ball early to get his game started, and hopefully that will transfer into a determined, decisive mindset throughout the game.