USATSI

The Clippers are one win away from reaching the Western Conference finals for the first time in franchise history, but they still need to take care of business against the Nuggets. Poor shooting performances from both teams resulted in a low scoring outing in Game 4, but in the end, it was the Clippers defense and Kawhi Leonard’s dominance that came out on top. Denver will need more from its role players to stay alive in this series, otherwise the Nuggets will be packing their bags Friday night to head home out of the bubble.

Here’s everything you need to know about Game 5 of the Clippers-Nuggets series.

Viewing information

  • Date: Friday, Sept. 11 | Time: 6:30 p.m. ET
  • Location: Disney Wide World of Sports — Orlando, Florida
  • TV: TNT
  • Odds: Clippers -8 | Over/Under: 216.5 (via William Hill Sportsbook)

Storylines

Clippers: Unlike the first-round series against the Mavericks, the Clippers haven’t had as hard of a time slowing down the Nuggets. It also helps when Leonard’s play has been consistently elite over the course of the series. His latest performance — 30 points, 11 rebounds, nine assists, four steals and two blocks — exemplified exactly why he’s arguably the best two-way player in the league, and it overshadowed just how poor of an outing just about everyone else on his team had. Paul George contributed just 10 points in the win, and Montrezl Harrell was the second-leading scorer for the Clippers with 15 points. While L.A. can chalk it up to a win is a win, it’ll need to ensure that George, Lou Williams and others don’t make this inefficient shooting a trend if they’re going to be headed to the Western Conference finals where they will likely face the Lakers. 

Nuggets: L.A. has done a great job of containing everyone on Denver’s roster aside from Nikola Jokic, and so far that game plan has worked incredibly well. While Jokic is averaging 29 points in the last two games, the rest of his teammates haven’t supported him enough to pull out wins in either of those games. Jamal Murray has essentially been neutralized by Patrick Beverley and the Clippers’ tough defense, and Michael Porter Jr. is shooting 28.5 percent from 3-point range after shooting 41 percent from deep in the first round against the Jazz. Denver needs guys like Murray to get back on track, and for Porter to knock down his shots when he gets a good look, otherwise, this series could end rather quickly for the Nuggets.

Prediction

Pick: L.A. hasn’t really slowed down since that Game 2 loss to the Nuggets, and while Denver may come out of the gates hot to set the tone for the game, it’ll come down to the final few minutes where Leonard will reign supreme once again. Clippers -8

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