Although the Clippers are favored in the upcoming Conference semifinal against the Nuggets, the truth is they haven’t dominated in the game so far. During the first-round series, the Clippers barely got the drop on the Dallas Mavericks, who seemed in charge of the game.
It has become quite clear that the Clippers need to find their usual continuity and consistency to win the upcoming semifinal. They indeed have a team full of so much talent and depth than any other in this year’s Conference Championship. Their six games against the Mavericks in the quarters proved how dominant and firm the Clippers can be when they step up.
Now, Kawhi Leonard is looking great considering the last few matches and will have a significant impact in the semifinals. However, the bench duo, Lou Williams and Montrez Harrell, can’t seem to find the usual magic that they bring into the game. Paul George has also been looking quite shaky on different occasions, which leaves a lot of gaps in the game.
The Nuggets, on the other hand, are slowly showcasing that they have something special to show during the much-awaited semifinal. Their golden boy Jamal Murray is expected to continue his heroics during the match. Through Murray’s help, the Nuggets got a dramatic Game 7 win against the Utah Jazz in their first-round, which was epic.
However, we all remember the knee that squarely hit Murray in the left quad during the first half of that game. Most of the fans noticed that he slowed down after that injury. The excellent news for Nugget fans, however, is that it is never a one-person show for their favorite team.
Understand that the Nugget team is built around Nikola Jokic, the All-NBA big man. In every game, this one man has helped ensure that the Nuggets have come up victorious. What this means is that the Nuggets have come to play, and every player brings something new to their team.
Apart from the Clippers, the Nuggets also have a balanced team of players that can change the game. The Nugget coach, Mike Malone, has several options to choose from during the lineup. The simple fact that the Nuggets have pulled a 3-1 deficit comeback in the conference semifinals proves that they are here to play.
What you need to watch out for during the semifinal
Is Paul George back in form after his fantastic game against the Mavericks?
During an interview, George attested his three-game tailspin against Dallas during the first-round series, as a result of metal fatigue. According to Paul George, there was nothing physical, but it was all instead in his head. His coach, Doc Rivers, also stated that he might have underestimated how his players might be affected by the competition. Whether Paul George is back in the form will have a significant impact during the semifinal game against the Nuggets.
Will Jamal Murray come out to play?
Let us first state that Jamal Murray is the real deal. He is a legit player who brings his best effort to all the competitions. Due to his crafty ability to score from all three levels, the Clippers are going to have a difficult time trying to put him in check. Admittedly, the clippers have a strong defensive line in Paul George, Kawhi Leonard, and others. However, if Murray performed against the all-defensive Jazz, then he might stand up to the challenge and shape his career during the semifinal match.
Are the Clippers giving their semifinal match any thought? Or are they more focused on the finals against the Lakers?
This is among the most unpredictable seasons ever in NBA History. You would think that the Clippers have learned their lesson after the first-round scare they had against Dallas. Yes, the talk of the league has always been the final showdown between the Lakers and the Clippers. But the Clippers need to beat the Nuggets first if they want a taste of the dominant Lakers team. What we can expect is an epic showdown during the semifinal and nothing less.
The Nuggets have had a fascinating run during the first round. However, they need to step up if they want a shot at the finals. With the Clippers well-rested and focused on the finals, it would take sheer will and determination to defeat them. Note that the Clippers will be looking for an early knockout to cement their win against the Nuggets. All we can expect is a momentous showdown provided both teams give their all during the competition.
No. 2 Los Angeles Clippers vs. No. 3 Denver Nuggets; NBA TV Schedule
Game 1 – Sept. 3, 9 p.m. ET (TNT)
Game 2 – Sept. 5, 9 p.m. ET (TNT)
Game 3 – Sept. 7, 9 p.m. ET (TNT)
Game 4 – Sept. 9, 9 p.m. ET (ESPN)
Game 5 – Sept. 11, TBD ET (TNT)
Game 6 – Sept. 13, TBD ET (ESPN)
Game 7 – Sept. 15, TBD ET (ESPN)