The Los Angeles Clippers are in front of the Denver Nuggets through three games, but the underdog hasn’t made it easy on the championship favorite. Denver took Game 2 somewhat convincingly, and were it not for a fourth-quarter rally, it would’ve won Game 3 as well. After exhausting themselves to win a seven-game war against the Utah Jazz, the consensus was that the Nuggets would collapse against a dominant Clippers team just now rounding into form. Instead, this series has, largely, been even. 

The Clippers will have the chance to change that on Wednesday. A win would give them a commanding 3-1 lead and take them ever-closer to the Western Conference finals. The Nuggets can tie things up and prove that their early success in this matchup has been no fluke. Here’s everything you need to know about Wednesday’s critical Game 4. 

Viewing information

  • Date: Wednesday, Sept. 9 | Time: 9 p.m. ET
  • Location: Disney Wide World of Sports — Orlando, Florida
  • TV: ESPN | Stream: fuboTV (try for free)  
  • Odds: Clippers -7.5 | Over/Under: 220.5 (via William Hill Sportsbook)

Storylines

Clippers: Can they do anything to slow down Nikola Jokic whatsoever? Over the past two games, he has averaged 29 points on 56.1 percent shooting to go along with 15 rebounds and six assists. Ivica Zubac hasn’t had any success in that matchup, and Jokic fouled him out of Game 3. JaMychal Green is too small to survive in against Jokic for long, and he’s such an incredible passer that doubling him doesn’t help much either. The Clippers survived Game 3 because the other Denver star, Jamal Murray, struggled. If the Nuggets get both going at once? That’s trouble, and it’s why it is so imperative that they find some workable solution to the Jokic problem before it’s too late. 

Nuggets: Jamal Murray usually runs hot and cold. In the first round against Utah, it was almost all hot. In this series against the Clippers? All cold. He’s shooting 37.3 percent from the floor and 30.4 percent from behind the arc. Yes, he might still be dealing with his Game 7 thigh injury and yes, Patrick Beverley is a terrific defender, but the leap into stardom Murray supposedly made in the first round was never about the heights of that series. We always knew he was good for a couple of huge games, though doing so on the playoff stage was surely impressive. It was about consistency. Players with the sort of max contracts Murray signed last offseason need to contribute every single night, even when their shot isn’t falling. Murray has no-showed most of this series. That has to change for Denver to have any sort of upset chance. 

Prediction

It seems likelier that Jokic continues to destroy an advantageous matchup than it is that Murray continues to struggle this much in a bad one. That may not be enough to swing the series toward the Nuggets, but Denver has proven that it can hang with anyone. The Clippers may win this game and this series, but it won’t be a walkover. Pick: Nuggets +7.5

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