The first three games of the Western Conference semi-finals have produced three very different results. The Clippers took the first game 120-97, then Denver Nuggets bounced back with a 110-101 win on Saturday, followed with the Clippers taking a 2-1 series lead after a 113-107 victory on Monday. Denver has covered the spread in each of the last two games, and two out of the three games have gone under the total. On Monday, the Nuggets pulled ahead 97-90 with 8:29 left in the fourth quarter, but the Clippers made more plays down the stretch, led by their defense, and ended the game on a 23-10 run secure the victory.
Clippers take 2-1 series leadThe Clippers shot 54.7% (41-75) from the field in Game 3, along with 35.5% (11-31), and 76.9% (20-26) from the free-throw line. Paul George led Los Angeles with 32 points on 12 of 18 shooting, and Kawhi Leonard added 23 points, 14 rebounds, and six assists, along with a massive block on the defensive end of the floor in the final two minutes.
In the playoffs, Leonard is averaging 29.1 ppg, 9.7 rebounds, and 5.3 assists, after putting up 27.1 ppg, 7.1 rebounds, and 4.9 assists during the regular season. Paul George is adding 20.4 ppg during the postseason, followed by Lou Williams, who has averaged 14.3 ppg off of the bench in nine playoff games.
The Clippers have been the best overall shooting team in the postseason, making 50.3% of their shots from the field and averaging a playoff best 121.6 ppg. Los Angles has made 38.6% of its three-point attempts, which is third in the playoffs.
Defensively, the Clippers are allowing 112.9 points per playoff game, which is 12th, and have a +8.6 points differential, which is second to only the Boston Celtics.
Nuggets can't make enough plays in final minutesThe Denver Nuggets were unable to get the necessary defensive stops or make enough big shots down the stretch in Game 3 and watched the opportunity to take a 2-1 series lead slip away. After being held to 12 points in Game 1, Jamal Murray scored 27 points in Game 2 but struggled again on Monday. Murray finished with 14 points and nine assists but only shot 5 for 17 in the loss. Nikola Jokic showed no signs of a right wrist sprain that had him listed as questionable the night before the game and finished with a team-high 32 points and 12 rebounds along with eight assists. Michael Porter Jr. also had a big game with 18 points and 10 rebounds.
For the game, Denver shot 46.8% (44-94) from the floor and, 32.4% (11-34) from three-point range, but only got to the free-throw line for ten attempts, making eight. Throughout their 10 playoff games, the Nuggets are averaging 108.4 ppg, shooting 46% from the field and 39% from three-point range. Murray leads the team with 27.4 ppg and 6.5 assists in the playoffs, followed by Jokic with 25.7 ppg and 9.0 rebounds.
Defensively the Nuggets are giving up 112.8 ppg, giving them a -4.3 points differential.
- Denver is 5-0-1 ATS in their last 6 after allowing 100 points or more in their previous game.
- Denver is 5-1-1 ATS in their last 7 playoff games
- LA Clippers are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 Conference Semifinals games.