DENVER NUGGETS (36-44)
at LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS (56-24)
Tip-off: Tuesday, 10:35 p.m. ET
Line: Los Angeles -9, Total: 219.5
As the season winds down, the Nuggets and Clippers meet for a fourth and final time on Tuesday night.
Denver has had a very disappointing season, but is finishing strong with a three-game SU winning streak (2-1 ATS). The team's first two wins of the streak came against very tough opponents as it first defeated Houston by a score of 123-116 as two-point underdogs, and then took down the Warriors on the road, 100-99, while getting a hefty 12 points. The Nuggets extended their streak to three with a 101-94 victory against the Jazz on Saturday while out-rebounding their opponent by 13 and failing to cover the 9.5-point spread. Los Angeles has arguably been the best team in the league since the All-Star break, going 19-4 SU (14-8-1 ATS) since Feb. 23. The team had no trouble against Sacramento this past Saturday, covering the 11-point spread at home with a 117-101 win while shooting 50.6% from the field. The road has been very rocky for Denver this season, as the club has put together a poor 14-26 SU record, but has been profitable at 21-18 ATS. Meanwhile, the Clippers are one of the top home teams in the NBA, going 33-7 SU and 20-20 ATS. The home team has won each of the first three games of this series (both SU and ATS), with Denver hosting the past two contests and winning by an average of 5.5 PPG. The club limited L.A. to just 39.1% shooting in the most recent meeting on March 17, winning 110-100 as a 4-point underdog and out-rebounded the Clippers by 12 (55-43). These two teams have split their 10 games SU over the past three seasons, with Los Angeles going 4-6 ATS, but the club has won each of its past three home games SU in this series. The Nuggets have dealt with injuries all season, and they will be short-handed again on Tuesday, as PG Ty Lawson (ankle) is doubtful, PF Darrell Arthur (knee) is questionable, and SF Danilo Gallinari, PF J.J. Hickson (knee) and PG Nate Robinson are all out for the season with knee injuries. SF Danny Granger (hamstring) is the sole injured player on L.A.’s side of the ball.
Can the Clippers roll to a double-digit win on Tuesday night? For the answer, connect to The Platinum Sheet for all the Expert picks throughout the entire 2012-13 season. The experts are finishing the regular season strong at 54% ATS (60-52-5) in NBA Best Bets since March 9. StatFox Zach is a stellar 67% ATS (16-8-1) in NBA Best Bets since March 9, while StatFox Gary has remained hot with a 56% ATS mark (22-17-1) in Best Bets since Feb. 13. StatFox Scott is 57% ATS (8-6-1) since March 24, StatFox Dave has a profitable 55% ATS (51-42-3) NBA Best Bets record since Dec. 1, and StatFox Brian is 54% ATS (30-26-2) in Best Bets since Jan. 25.
The Nuggets led the league in scoring last season, but have been far from doing that in 2013, netting 104.3 PPG (9th in league) on the season. Over their past five games, they have looked more like last season's offense, scoring 108.2 PPG. The defense has been the main downfall for the entire season, giving up 106.3 PPG (3rd-worst in NBA). PF Kenneth Faried (13.6 PPG, 8.5 RPG) has taken advantage of some increased minutes and is averaging a huge double-double (19.6 PPG, 14.4 RPG) over his past five games. He’s been very effective in his first three games against the Clippers this season, getting 16.0 PPG (61% FG) to go along with 9.0 RPG and 1.0 BPG. SG Randy Foye (13.0 PPG, 3.4 APG) has taken over the scoring duties over the past three games, putting up 25.3 PPG over that time while dishing out 9.3 APG and grabbing 5.3 RPG. With only 9.3 PPG (23% FG) in his three games against Los Angeles on the season, Foye has done little to aid in the team's past two series wins. C Timofey Mozgov (9.3 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 1.2 BPG) had one of the best games in the entire league last Thursday when he dropped 23 points with 29 rebounds and three blocks against the Warriors. His three games when facing the Clips have been very close to his season averages, as he has 11.3 PPG (44% FG) and 7.3 RPG against them.
The Clippers offense has steamrolled plenty of their opponents and are averaging a league-best 107.9 PPG this season. Amazingly, they have improved on that number over their past five games, scoring 111.4 PPG on 48% FG in that time. In those same five contests, their defense has struggled, allowing opponents to score 105.2 PPG (45% FG), but L.A. has been better overall on the season, giving up 100.8 PPG (14th in NBA). PG Chris Paul (19.1 PPG, 10.7 APG, 2.5 SPG) is coming off a double-double (17 points, 10 assists) while also grabbing seven rebounds in the win over the Kings. He’s played in 27 career games against Denver, averaging 19.7 PPG (46% FG), 9.7 APG and 2.2 SPG. PF Blake Griffin (24.1 PPG, 9.5 RPG) has been an incredible all-around player in his past five games, scoring more than 23 points in each contest while getting double-digit rebounds twice and 9+ assists twice as well. Denver has been no match for him in the three games this season, as Griffin has posted 28.7 PPG (44% FG), 13.0 RPG and 1.3 SPG. C DeAndre Jordan (10.5 PPG, 13.7 RPG, 2.5 BPG) had a near triple-double (21 points, 9 rebounds, 7 blocks) against the Kings, but snapped a 24-game streak of having double-digit rebounds. He’s averaged a double-double (11.3 PPG, 11.7 RPG) over his three games against Denver while adding 2.0 BPG.