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Clippers vs Nuggets Game 2 Picks and Odds

Blair Johnson

by Blair Johnson in NBA Basketball

Updated Sep 4, 2020 · 7:58 AM PDT

The Clippers were uber-efficient on both ends in a dominant Game 1 performance against the Nuggets. Will that trend continue in Game 2? Or can Jamal Murray and Co. bounce back from a brutal loss and even the series at 1-1?
  • LA routed Denver 120-97 in Game 1 of their Western Conference Semifinal series
  • Nuggets starters combined to score just 57 points on 20-for-48 shooting from the field
  • See the odds, our analysis and best bets for Game 2 below

Kawhi Leonard had a game-high 29 points as the Clippers dominated the Nuggets Thursday night in Game 1 of their Western Conference Semifinal series.

Denver hung with LA through the first quarter. But after being knotted at 31 after the first 12 minutes, the Clips outscored the Nuggets 89-66 the rest of the way.

Now, Mike Malone’s club will try to avoid being down a 2-0 hole Saturday against the suddenly emboldened LA team that has won by margins of 43, 14 and 23 in its last three games.

Nuggets vs Clippers Game 2 Odds

Team Spread at FanDuel Moneyline Total
Denver Nuggets +8.5 (-110) +300 O 223 (-110)
Los Angeles Clippers -8.5 (-110) -375 U 223 (-110)

Odds taken Sept. 3

As good as LA was in Game 1, Denver was bad. The just-finished seven-game series with Utah clearly took its toll on the squad, which shot just 42-percent for the game. And with Clipper defensive captain Patrick Beverley back on the court for the first time this postseason, Doc Rivers’ team appeared to take shutting the Nuggets down to a different level.

So, are the Clips an easy bet at -8.5 for Game 2? Or can the Nuggets bounce back with a victory and even the series? We preview the next matchup in this series and offer betting advice.

The X-Factor

While two-time NBA Finals MVP Leonard and Paul George are the marquee names on the Clipper roster, Beverley might be the most important player when it comes to LA’s ultimate success.

And while the guard — who missed the last five games of the Dallas series nursing a strained calf — only scored eight points Thursday, his presence was huge.

Beverley logged 12 minutes in the blowout, but his play was oh-so efficient. He went 3-for-5 from the field and also grabbed six rebounds. You have to figure his playing time will increase as the series marches on, which decreases Denver’s chances of prevailing. Marcus Morris Sr. calls him “the head of the snake.” Rivers says Beverley gives the team energy. Whatever it is, Beverley’s presence in Game 1 proved why oddsmakers like the Clippers to win it all, let alone win Game 2.

Where’s the Offense?

Denver’s offensive woes go back two games now. The Nuggets have put up just 80 and 97-point efforts in back-to-back outings. This, after the team scored no less than 117 points in the three straight outings before the pair of offensive clunkers.

If George is right, and the Clippers’ defensive prowess continues, Denver is in big trouble. Some may chalk the Game 1 effort (or lack thereof) up to fatigue from an exhausting series against the Jazz that saw the Nuggets battle back from a 3-1 hole. And that’s fair — but only to a certain extent. Denver shot 37-percent in the 80-78 clincher against Utah Tuesday and were not much better in the first game of this series.

Another alarming trend is Jamal Murray’s play. After putting up 50, 42 and 50 in Games 4-6 against Utah, Murray has put up just 17 and 12-point efforts in the last two games. It does not bode well for a Nuggets team that needs to fire on all cylinders — including those of their primary scorer — to beat the Clippers.

Game 2 Betting Advice

You can tell where I”m leaning here. When Paul George (6-for-13 FG, 19 points) is the only starter who shoots below 50-percent, the Clippers are tough to beat. And when players like Morris and Leonard shoot at least 70-percent from the field (which happened in Game 1), the Clippers are impossible to beat.

Meantime, Denver is way more than a one-man team. Of course, when Murray is averaging 31.6 points in the first round and scoring at least 50 points twice in that series, it’s easy to overlook the likes of Nikola Jokic and Paul Millsap. Those two players are (or have been) All-Stars. But unless they step up and figure out a way to put more points on the scoreboard, this series has sweep written all over it.

I love the combination of Beverley’s leadership on the defensive end and supreme offensive efficiency by the Clippers. Meanwhile, the Nuggets’ lack of execution on the offensive end has me fading Denver and the over in Game 2.

The pick: Clippers -8.5 (-110) and Under 223 (-110)

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