The two teams became bitter rivals after the Nuggets pulled off one of the greatest upsets in NBA history when they overcame a 3-1 lead in the 2020 Western Conference Semi-Finals to defeat the heavily favored Clippers.
This is the second encounter between the two teams this season. Their first matchup saw the LA Clippers dominate the Denver Nuggets. They won 121-108 but possessed a 23-point lead at one point in the game.
The Nuggets' Nikola Jokic had a near triple-double with 24 points, 10 assists and 9 rebounds. Meanwhile, Clippers stars Kawhi Leonard and Paul George combined for 44 points.
Denver Nuggets vs LA Clippers Prediction
It is tough to pick favorites for the game since the two teams are evenly matched on paper.
The Denver Nuggets are just one win behind the LA Clippers and have won 4 of their last 5 games. Meanwhile, the Clippers' six-game losing streak came to an end at the hands of a bottom-table Orlando Magic team in their last outing.
The LA Clippers have listed Paul George out for the game against the Denver Nuggets. Including Patrick Beverly and Serge Ibaka, three of the five starters in the Clippers squad are now injured. This massively increases the Nuggets' chances of a win as they boast an entirely healthy starting lineup.
Denver Nuggets vs LA Clippers Combined 5
Point Guard - Jamal Murray | Shooting Guard - Michael Porter Jr. | Small Forward - Kawhi Leonard | Power Forward - Aaron Gordon | Center - Nikola Jokic.
Jamal Murray's versatile scoring ability makes him a constant threat on the offensive end of the floor. While his offense has always been impressive, Murray has also been good defensively. He featured in the DPOY power rankings a week ago and has the third-best perimeter defense in the league.
Jamal Murray recently dropped 50 points on unbelievable efficiency and became the first player in NBA history to score 50 points in a game without attempting a single free-throw. He is averaging 21.2 points on 48% shooting this season.
Paul George would have been the perfect choice for the shooting guard position, but given his injury status, the Nuggets' Michael Porter Jr. could serve as a great replacement. Although he is listed as a forward, his shooting and scoring abilities make him a viable option for the position.
Porter Jr. is shooting an astonishing 44.9% from three-point range and 53% from the field. He is the team's third-best scoring option after Jokic and Murray.
Kawhi Leonard is one of the best small forwards in the NBA. A defensive weapon, he can lock down almost any opponent from positions 1-4 and has won the NBA Defensive Player of the Year award twice in his career.
Leonard is often regarded as one of the league's best two-way players, given his shooting prowess on the offensive side of the floor.
The Nuggets acquired Aaron Gordon at the NBA trade deadline. He is expected to bring energy and intensity to the defensive side of the floor for the Denver Nuggets. He is famous for being one of the most ferocious dunkers in the league and is a two-time runner-up in the NBA Slam-Dunk contest. Gordon was averaging 14.6 points and 6.6 rebounds for the Orlando Magic this season before getting traded.
Finally, the center position is filled by none other than three-time All-Star Nikola Jokic, who is regarded as one of the best passing big men in the league.
'The Joker' is averaging a near triple-double this season with 27 points, 8.3 assists and 11.3 rebounds per game. He is also grabbing a team-high 1.6 steals per outing.
Jokic is the frontrunner for this season's MVP award and has led the power rankings for weeks.