LA Clippers Rooting Interests: Denver Nuggets

LA Clippers Paul George (Photo by Kim Klement-Pool/Getty Images)
LA Clippers Paul George (Photo by Kim Klement-Pool/Getty Images) /

As the Jazz-Nuggets series goes to a Game 7, we look at why LA Clippers fans should be cheering for a Denver win.

After a Dallas series that had us holding our breaths a little more than we hoped, the LA Clippers get a couple of days off and get to watch the other series finish up.

Obviously, Game 7 between the Denver Nuggets and the Utah Jazz has our interest the most, as it determines whom we’ll face in round 2 of the playoffs. And while we like the Clippers’ chances against either potential opponent, I think that the Nuggets are the clear rooting interest for Clips fans.

Denver and LA met three times in the regular season, including once in the bubble. The good guys went 2-1, scoring an average of 120 points and allowing an average of 109 points. It should be noted, the 1 loss was a game in which neither Paul George nor Marcus Morris played; the Clips defense still held Denver to 111 points, but the offense didn’t show up.

The offense hasn’t been a problem for the Clippers in the bubble, and it’s not totally fair to say the defense hasn’t shown up in the postseason; 6 games against the best offense in league history is maybe not the best measuring stick.

The wild card will be Jamal Murray. The Clippers did a somewhat decent job of stopping Jokic from being a destroyer in their three games this season – the big man averaged 19 points, 10 rebounds, and 7 assists in those games. Very good numbers, but nothing the Clips can’t overcome.

But Murray has taken another step forward in the playoffs and is scoring at an elite level. You have to think, though, that Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, and (possibly) Pat Beverley, the Clippers will be able to throw defenders and make life difficult for Murray. He never shot better than 42% from the field in our previous three games, but that may not be totally indicative of his playoff performance.

That said, in reverse, who guards Kawhi Leonard? Who guards Paul George? Michael Porter, Jr. is going to have to guard somebody, and the Clippers could throw out a lineup that looks like Beverley/PG/Kawhi/Morris/Zubac. There’s nowhere for MPJ to hide, there, and the Clippers can take advantage of his defensive shortcomings.

Not to mention Shamet, JaMychal, Lou, Trezz coming off the bench. The Nuggets have a bunch of guys who aren’t the best on-ball defenders, and the Clips will be able to keep targeting them without forfeiting too much on the defensive end.

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After being warmed up against the Mavericks, I think the Clippers are ready for whichever team they face in the second round, but I also think that Clippers fans should be hoping for a Nuggets win in Game 7 against the Jazz.