After going 2-1 in their last three games against lesser teams, the LA Clippers get a real test to prove they can put together a complete game.
The last three games have not been pretty for the LA Clippers. Fans may have tried to forget the loss to the Memphis Grizzlies a week ago and the following horrendous showings versus the New York Knicks and the Golden State Warriors. The team, however, should not forget those.
Instead, they need to look at the lack of effort from start to finish and use that to motivate themselves tonight when they travel to Denver. If the Clippers want to be considered an elite team in the NBA, they need to take care of business especially against other playoff teams.
The Nuggets sit just a half game behind the Clippers in the Western Conference and are the perfect challenge. They have an elite big man in Nikola Jokic, something that many worried would plague LA. They also have solid depth to match that of the Clippers.
LA will be down Paul George again as he did not travel with the team. It’s better that they be extra cautious with his hamstring strain but not having his scoring output will not help. Landry Shamet will most likely get the start in his place.
The first quarter has been a problem for LA over the last three games. Tonight gives them the opportunity to put together a good start though. Denver ranks just 24th in the league in first-quarter scoring and are on the second night of a back-to-back. LA should do everything in their power to come out swinging early.
After the Clippers fell behind versus the Warriors on Friday, Kawhi Leonard told the team that they wouldn’t let them score anymore. This mindset needs to be something the Clips have from the tip. With the tools to be an elite defensive team, we haven’t seen everything come together yet.
If the Clippers can finally put together a complete game, especially against another playoff team, most of the worries that fans have should fade. The game tips off at 5pm PST on Fox Sports West. As always, we’ll be tweeting during so make sure to follow along and to check back here afterward!