After getting steamrolled in Game 1, the Denver Nuggets answered on Saturday night by beating the Clippers in Game 2 110-101 to even up the series at 1-1. After allowing the Clippers to shoot 41.7 percent from 3-point range, the Nuggets responded well on defense, which resulted in L.A. going an abysmal 28 percent from deep. It also helped that the duo of Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray combined for 53 points to lift Denver to a win, and giving the Nuggets hope that they have a chance in this series against the No. 2-seeded Clippers.
Here's everything you need to know about Game 3 between the Clippers and Nuggets.
- Date: Monday, Sept. 7 | Time: 9 p.m. ET
- Location: Disney Wide World of Sports -- Orlando, Florida
- TV: TNT
- Odds: Clippers -7.5 | Over/Under: 220 (via William Hill Sportsbook)
Clippers: For the first time this postseason, Kawhi Leonard had a poor offensive performance. The two-time NBA champion put up just 13 points on 4 of 17 from the field, and finished the game a team-low minus-16. While Paul George was able to carry some of the offensive load with his 22 points, L.A. really didn't stand a chance against the shooting prowess of Denver without Leonard on his A-game. These inefficient games won't happen often for Leonard, so it's nothing the Clippers should be too concerned about, but the Nuggets do deserve some credit for his poor performance. Jerami Grant was tasked with checking Leonard all night, and in certain scenarios the Nuggets used a help defender whenever Leonard got in the paint. If Denver is able to continue that effort on the defensive side of the ball, it will greatly enhance its chances to push the Clippers to the limit in this series.
Nuggets: Game 2 was a great showing from several Denver players, especially in the fourth quarter when the Clippers were threatening its lead. The Nuggets were able to share the ball around and show the diversity of their offense to get out to a comfortable enough lead for the win, which included a pair of triples for Gary Harris, who put up his best performance in the postseason thus far after sitting out for the majority of the first round with a hip injury. Denver will need consistent performances from Harris, in addition to Jokic and Murray, in order to put the pressure on L.A.. Game 2 showed that the Nuggets can take it to the Clippers to make this series interesting.
Pick: While Denver showed a lot of fight in Game 2, the fact of the matter is Leonard isn't going to have many more performances where he's held to under 20 points a game. Grant did a great job checking him all night, however, I expect Leonard and the Clippers to respond in a strong way and take a 2-1 series lead. Clippers -7.5