LOS ANGELES, CA – DECEMBER 22: Denver Nuggets Forward Nikola Jokic (15) looks on before a NBA game between the Denver Nuggets and the Los Angeles Clippers on December 22, 2018 at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, CA. (Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire)
- The Los Angeles Clippers are 5.5-point favorites over the Denver Nuggets on Saturday (May 1st, 10 pm ET)
- LA star Kawhi Leonard has missed five straight games, and is questionable for this contest
- See below for analysis, odds and a betting prediction
Two of the West’s top-four teams clash Saturday (May 1st, 10 pm ET) in Los Angeles, as the Clippers host the Denver Nuggets. LA enters play just a half game up on Denver for third place in the Conference, and is coming off back-to-back losses.
The Nuggets meanwhile, are red-hot having won four straight, with three of those victories coming by double-digits.
Nuggets vs Clippers Odds
|Team||Spread||Moneyline at FanDuel||Total|
|Denver Nuggets||+5.5 (-110)||+194||OFF|
|LA Clippers||-5.5 (-110)||-235||OFF|
Odds as of April 30th.
Despite their recent struggles, the Clippers opened up as a 5.5-point favorite, in a game that does not yet have a total. The main reason an over/under has yet to be posted is due to the questionable status of Kawhi Leonard, who’s missed five straight games with a sore foot.
The Nuggets have injury problems of their own, but you’d never know it by the way they’ve been playing lately.
Denver Dominates Raptors
Denver is coming off a 121-111 victory over Toronto, their eighth win in nine games without Jamal Murray. The Nuggets star point guard is out for the season following a knee injury, but shockingly Denver’s offense has performed better without him.
That win was Nikola approved 👍 pic.twitter.com/rA29vG1aZA
— Denver Nuggets (@nuggets) April 30, 2021
Led by Nikola Jokic, the Nuggets are averaging 120 points per outing without Murray, 5 points more than their season average. Jokic was the offensive catalyst once again versus the Raptors, racking up 19 points and 11 boards in just three quarters of action. The MVP favorite picked up his 54th double-double in the process, helping Denver go on a 31-8 run in the second half to blow the game open.
This is his 39th dunk of the season, in case you were wondering pic.twitter.com/7slTfDsjFK
— Denver Nuggets (@nuggets) April 30, 2021
Michael Porter Jr. poured in 23, while five other Nuggets all reached double-figures. The team shot 47.8% from the floor, dominated on the glass and bullied the Raps in the paint. They did all this without not only Murray, but backcourt regulars Will Barton and Monte Morris as well. The duo are both nursing hamstring injuries, and in their place Facu Campazzo, P.J. Dozier and Shaquille Harrison have all stepped up their games.
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LA Clipped By Phoenix
Los Angeles on the other hand, fell to Phoenix last time out by a score of 109-101. Paul George led the way with 25 points and 10 boards, but the offense struggled again with Kawhi.
Back home on Saturday. pic.twitter.com/fnXzdmvKdG
— LA Clippers (@LAClippers) April 29, 2021
The Clippers are averaging just 108 points during Leonard’s five-game absence, 6 points fewer than their season average. As mentioned earlier, there is optimism that Leonard may be able to play on Saturday, but both Patrick Beverley and Serge Ibaka have already been ruled out.
Kawhi Leonard is QUESTIONABLE to play against the Denver Nuggets. Patrick Beverley, Serge Ibaka, and Amir Coffey (health & safety protocols) are OUT.
Have a nice day!
— Farbod Esnaashari (@Farbod_E) May 1, 2021
Beverley has missed 11 straight games with a broken hand, while Ibaka hasn’t played since mid-March due to a back injury. Ibaka’s presence was sorely missed versus the Suns, as Phoenix bullied the Clips on the glass, grabbing 15 offensive boards which led to plenty of second chance points.
LA ranks 17th in total rebounding this season, and that’s an area of its game that can definitely be exposed by Denver.
Roll With the Nuggets
The Nuggets rank sixth in the entire NBA in offensive rebounding, and sixth in points in the point. They racked up 42 points down low in their last meeting with the Clippers, which was a major key to their upset victory on April 1st.
Denver has the bodies to bully LA down low, just like Phoenix did, and even if Kawhi plays it’s fair to speculate how healthy he’ll be.
The Nuggets have been dominant offensively over the past few weeks and we should expect another high scoring output from them on Saturday. They’ve climbed all the way up to fourth in the NBA in points per game, fourth in field-goal percentage, and sixth in three-point efficiency.
Even without Murray, Denver has more than enough firepower to not only cover this number, but win outright, just like they did in LA a month ago.
Pick: Denver Nuggets +5.5 (-110)
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Chris began his career at Hockey Night in Canada over 15 years ago. He has since worked at TSN for over 12 years as a writer, line-up producer, field producer, newsroom supervisor for Sportscentre, and presently as a promotions producer.