The Denver Nuggets and Los Angeles Clippers open up their season on Wednesday night. Los Angeles will host the game as they look to open up this season with a win. Both teams finished their campaign without making the playoffs last season.
The Nuggets finished with a 46-36 record last season. Denver finished right outside the playoff picture for the Western Conference. The Nuggets had a solid season that finished with heartbreak. The Nuggets will look to make it into the postseason this season. A win right off the bat would be a huge beginning to the bounce back season.
Los Angeles was behind Denver in the standings last season. The Clippers finished with a 42-40 record, which put them in tenth place of the Western Conference. Los Angeles surprised a lot of people last season by finishing with a winning record. The Clippers could use a win right off the bat.
Los Angeles is coming off an offseason that seems to be the beginning of the rebuild. The Clippers were shopping their assets around for prospects and picks. Denver looked to try and make the moves to make the leap into the playoffs this season.
Last Season’s Meetings
The Clippers and Nuggets met three times last season. Los Angeles won the season series 2-1. All three games last season were pretty close. Denver will need to win more games against teams like the Clippers if they want to make it back to the playoffs.
Los Angeles hosted the first game of the season between these two teams. The Clippers pulled off the win 109-104. Blake Griffin dropped 20 points and added 12 rebounds. Montrezl Harrell had 18 points for Los Angeles as well. Gary Harris led the Nuggets in scoring with 19 points.
The Clippers went to Denver in the second meeting of the season and pulled off a win. Lou Williams scored 25 points off the bench. Milos Teodosic, Montrezl Harrell and Boban Marjanovic all had over 10 points off the bench as well. Gary Harris had another solid game with 23 points, but it was not enough. Los Angeles won 122-120.
The Nuggets finally pulled off the win on April 7. Denver went back to Los Angeles for the game and had a dominant 134-115 win. Will Barton had 31 points and Nikola Jokic had 23 points in route to the win. Lou Williams led the Clippers in points off the bench with 24.
Denver struggled against the Clippers last season, but I believe that they could change that to begin this season. The Nuggets have the better lineup in my opinion and could pull off the win on the road on Wednesday night. Denver found a way to dominate and keep it close in Los Angeles last season. The Nuggets could use that momentum and carry it into their game on Wednesday night.
Last Season’s Performance
Denver and Los Angeles both were similar in the fact that their offense was near the upper half of the league, but their defense struggled. The Nuggets averaged 110 points per game, which was good enough to be sixth in the league. Denver allowed other teams to score about 108.5 points per game, which was twenty second in the league.
Los Angeles put up 109 points per game last season, which was ninth in the NBA. The Clippers also allowed 109 points per game, which was twenty fourth in the NBA. The Clippers were behind the Nuggets in both points per game and points allowed per game last season. This shows that the Nuggets were overall the better team scoring wise.
Denver has quite a few mismatches in this game. One of the big ones is Denver’s Nikola Jokic versus newly acquired Marcin Gortat. While Gortat is a solid starting Center in the league, I do not believe he can defend Jokic well. Jokic can both shoot behind the arc and play well in the paint, which will force Gortat to move a lot with him on Wednesday night.
Overall, I believe the Nuggets have the better team. Isaiah Thomas was picked up in the offseason and he will look to prove he still has it against the Clippers. Thomas will likely come off the bench, which could give him some advantages against Los Angeles’ depth.
A road win would be huge to start the season. This game is very winnable for the Nuggets and I believe they will be out to prove it. Too often last season, Denver came up short in winnable games. The Nuggets will need to change that around if they want to earn a playoff spot this season.
GTBets has Denver listed as -1.5 against the spread. I believe the Nuggets will win this game, which means the only way to not win is to push. This makes this a very valuable bet in my opinion. The Clippers made a lot of moves in the offseason, which could lead to a lack of chemistry in the lineup on Wednesday night. I am going with the road favorites.