USATSI

The second round of the Western Conference playoffs will finally get underway on Thursday night, when the Los Angeles Clippers take on the Denver Nuggets in Game 1 of their series. Kawhi Leonard and Co. had to work much harder than they probably expected to take care of the Dallas Mavericks in the first round, but they eventually got the job done, despite some brilliant play from Luka Doncic. L.A. could be in line for a big boost in Game 1 against the Nuggets, with Patrick Beverley expected to play, per head coach Doc Rivers. 

As for the Nuggets, they’re coming off a grueling seven-game series with the Utah Jazz, in which they became the 12th team in NBA history to come back from a 3-1 deficit. It will be interesting to see how much they have left in the tank for this series, especially considering they got just two days off after beating the Jazz. Here’s everything you need to know about the series opener between the Clippers and Nuggets.

How to Watch Clippers vs. Nuggets Game 1

  • Date: Thursday, Sept. 3 | 9 p.m. ET
  • Location: Disney Wide World of Sports — Orlando, Florida
  • TV: TNT
  • Odds: Clippers -9 | Over/Under: 222.5 (William Hill Sportsbook)

Storylines

Clippers: The Clippers are massive favorites in this series, and for good reason. They’ll have the best player on the floor in Kawhi Leonard, they’re a dominant offensive team going against a terrible defense and have had much more rest than the Nuggets. If the Clippers do indeed advance, they’ll make the conference finals for the first time in franchise history, snapping a 50-year drought that dates back to their inaugural season in 1970. 

Nuggets: Denver had little time to celebrate their dramatic Game 7 win over the Jazz, and its impressive comeback from a 3-1 deficit, because it had to immediately turn around and prepare for one of the best teams in the league. After how much they struggled to defend the Jazz, the Nuggets figure to have their hands full with the Clippers, and will need another huge series from Jamal Murray to avoid another second-round exit. 

Game prediction

The Clippers are nine-point favorites, and we’re going to take them in this game. They’re the better team and have been relaxing for four days, while the Nuggets were grinding out a brutal series with the Jazz. Pick: Clippers -9

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