Old friends are back together again, as the Denver Nuggets face off with the Los Angeles Clippers for the third time already this season. Their last regular season meeting won’t be until April, but by now these two teams know each other very well. Each is looking to solidify its identity, with Denver looking for some consistency from its bench to combat the uncertainty of its missing starters, while the Clippers are still trying to make their superteam perform in an above-average fashion. With Aaron Gordon probable for this game and Jamal Murray only questionable, the Nuggets would seem to be in the driver’s seat – but with some time off before this game the L.A. Nightlife challenge is one Denver will have to overcome as well to secure this victory.

The Essentials

Who: Denver Nuggets (14-7) at Los Angeles Clippers (9-10)

When: 8:00 PM MST

Where: The Dark Web. Los Angeles, CA.

How to watch/listen: Denver Stiffs does not condone piracy….unless it’s the romanticized 18th century type. Altitude TV where available (Altitude TV is available on DirecTV, DirecTV Stream & Fubo TV). NBA League pass for those not in the Nuggets market. Altitude Radio 92.5FM. Bring Floyd Mayweather to the game and get good seats.

Rival Blog: 213 Hoops

Injury Report: Aaron Gordon – probable (heel), Jamal Murray – questionable (hamstring), Vlatko Cancar – out (knee); Brandon Boston Jr. – out (quad), Mason Plumlee – out (knee).

The Three Things

The thing to watch for: Hangovers. Michael Porter Jr. was at the Lakers game with Floyd Mayweather last night, and whether he then went back to the hotel for a proper 8 hours of sleep or was out in L.A. until dawn is the sort of question everyone from Denver will need a good answer to. Having time to kill in Los Angeles is especially tough on rookies, who make up much of Denver’s current bench rotation. The last time Denver played the Clippers they were on a back-to-back without any time to enjoy the nightlife. For this game, here’s hoping the Nuggets had fun last night – just not TOO much fun.

The thing to remember: Denver has won eleven of their last twelve against the Clippers.  The Nuggets are going to have to pay taxes soon based on their ownership of the other team in Los Angeles. The Clippers have not been able to solve the Nuggets since the Bubble Playoff collapse, and their current team makeup doesn’t really create advantages against a healthy Denver squad. But this squad is not entirely healthy, and despite Reggie Jackson and DeAndre Jordan dismantling their old team without Nikola Jokic, Jamal Murray or Aaron Gordon last time that’s not a guarantee that the Nuggets will keep that chemistry this time. I still feel pretty confident that L.A. won’t fare much better against the Jokic-led Nuggets this time though, with Reggie and DeAndre making another appearance.

The thing to bet: Parlay the Over 226.5 & Denver at +1 (+252). The books are betting that LA Nightlife is gonna turn this into a slog, and for some players that will probably be true. But not for Jokic, and the Clippers haven’t scored fewer than 104 points since the middle of November. If you think the score will stay close (nightclub reasons) but Denver will win (Clippers ownership reasons) and you know Jokic will push for the win then I expect less defense and more scoring in this game, with Denver buckling down late for the victory.

Prediction: 118-112 Nuggets.