Andrew D Bernstein / NBAE via Getty Images Pictured: Kawhi Leonard # 2 of the LA Clippers and Jamal Murray # 27 of the Denver Nuggets

The Los Angeles Clippers want to avenge the playoff loss of the Western Conference in the semifinals last season against the Denver Nuggets in the final matchup on Christmas Day on the NBA table on Friday

Will the Clippers take care of business as street favorites or will the Nuggets extend their winning streak against LA to four? I’ll break down the matchup below

While superstars Kawhi Leonard and Paul George returned for the Clippers this season, they lost a few major rotation pieces: reigning Sixth Man of the Year, Montrezl Harrell (Lakers), JaMychal Green (Nuggets) and Landry Shamet (Nets) Um To compensate for this, the clippers acquired Luke Kennard, Serge Ibaka and Nicolas Batum

One of the main problems with Harrell is that he was constantly being hunted on defense and not had the sideways quickness to adjust to Ibaka, who already established a relationship with Leonard during his title run with the Raptors, is a much better compliment for this Clippers team

Not only does it fit better with chemistry, it clears the ground exponentially better as a career 361% 3 point shooter vs. Harrell, who missed all 18 of his 3-point attempts last season according to Basketball Reference Ibaka may not be the same defender he was during his days in Oklahoma City, but he’s a much more reliable option than Harrell

The Clippers continue to do a tremendous amount of 2-point long-range shots, which is worrying. Last season they hoisted 11.8% of their shots came from medium range (beyond 14 feet but within the arc), and on the start of this Season they were exactly in line with 12% per cleaning of the glass

The fact that it’s the least efficient shot in basketball didn’t matter that much as Leonard and George are elite middle-distance shooters, but it does reduce the margin of error.Luckily for the Clippers, the Nuggets gave up in the 2019- 2020 the third highest proportion of long-range shots per cleaning the glass

Notably, Marcus Morris, who missed the last game, is currently classified as questionable (knee) Keep an eye on his status with our NBA Insiders Tool

The Nuggets have lost two key parts of their team, Jerami Grant and Mason Plumlee, while Grant has been replaced by JaMychal Green, whom he takes care of shooting and defense, it’s still a slight downgrade Green is also being questioned for this matchup ( Calf) listed

Grant’s length is going to be hard to replace – he’s listed at 6-foot-9 with a 7-foot-2 wingspan, which is exactly the type of defender you’d want to put in for Leonard or George

It’s also important to remember that Will Barton didn’t play in the playoffs, had been one of the Nuggets ‘most dependable players until his injury and had improved their defenses The Nuggets’ defensive rating increased, according to NBA Advanced Stats by nearly six points when Barton was out of the field

However, he’s not the ideal backup defender for Grant when it comes to covering Leonard, considering the matchup dates, which are admittedly shaky (as Matt Moore would say), in the 99 partial possessions that Barton Kawhi covered, he shot 667% from the ground

Well what about George? In 174 split ownership George shot 75% per NBA Advanced Stats

Last season the Clippers were only 4-6 against the spread vs. Nuggets, including a paltry 2-5 ATS in their playoff streak, according to our Bet Labs database. Let’s return the nuggets here, right? Not so fast

When the Clippers reached their full strength last season, the smallest spread between these two Clippers teams was -55 At the time of this writing, the Clippers are listed at -25 after an initial open of -1

If the Clippers become bigger favorites, they’re 13-8-0 ATS since last regular season, giving back a 206% ROI, which goes well with another trend. Mike Malone has been on the regular since he started training the Nuggets Season only 22-25-1 ATS as a home dog

I think this line is too short, the Clippers are going to shoot and the Nuggets have no real answer to Leonard or George’s defense. The Nuggets can hold it close, especially when Jamal Murray gets hot, but -25 is too short to do without it

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Nuggets vs. Clippers, Kawhi Leonard

World News – AU – Clippers vs. Nuggets: Bet Kawhi & Co on Christmas night

Source: https://www.actionnetwork.com/nba/nba-odds-picks-los-angeles-clippers-vs-denver-nuggets-december-25