Finally, we have our first matchup of the second round of the 2020 NBA Playoff race in the West. The Denver Nuggets are coming off a 3-1 comeback against the Utah Jazz, while the Los Angeles Clippers had not too many troubles with the Dallas Mavericks. Nuggets-Clippers looks to be an intriguing matchup, but it’s time to discuss which team comes out on top.
Los Angeles Clippers
From the onset of the season, the Clippers were labeled as title favorites. Kawhi Leonard will always keep the Clippers in the game come crunch time. Paul George on the other hand can be worrisome some. He’s struggled to find his shot and could jeopardize the Clippers title chances. Patrick Beverly should finally be healthy, so that could go a long way in LA’s favor. Everyone else was relatively reliable during the first-round victory over Dallas and will need to keep playing at a high level in the upcoming round.
The plan to beat the Nuggets should be easy: Stop Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic while running everything through Kawhi. Denver has some good role players, but the Clippers defense can force them to take the tough shots. If George can get going, then this series is over quickly, and the Clippers will have another long rest on their hands.
Round one against the Utah Jazz will go down as one of the best first-round series of all time. Murray is showing All-Star potential, and Jokic was able to do his thing. Better yet, Torrey Craig has returned with fresh legs, thus allowing him to play with more energy than the rest of the Nuggets. Michael Porter Jr. had trouble shooting the ball against the Jazz but is still always a threat. Utah was no pushover team, and it was an impressive win for the Nuggets.
If the Nuggets are to stand a chance at winning the series, they have to keep the ball out of Kawhi’s hands. It’s a tall order, but they would instead force George to beat them. George has struggled while Kawhi has been his usual self. There’s still a high chance LA wins even if Denver does that, but it gives them their best chance at success.
The odds of the Nuggets pulling off the biggest upset of the 2020 NBA playoff upset are not in their favor. Not only are the Clippers a better team, but the Nuggets are gassed. It does not help that they only have one day of rest between rounds one and two. The Clippers are a deeper team and will have fresher legs. The only hope Denver has is if Murray goes full Michael Jordan and takes over. Clippers in 5.