Clippers Face Nuggets in In-Season Tournament Matchup

High Stakes Showdown Looms in Mile-High City

by Zain ul Abedin
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Clippers Face Nuggets in In-Season Tournament Matchup
© Megan Briggs/Getty Images

Denver, Colorado - In the second game of the In-Season Tournament, the Denver Nuggets want to extend their winning streak and secure a 2-0 record in the Group Stage. Their opponents, the LA Clippers, are currently grappling with the aftermath of a high-profile trade that hasn't yielded the desired results.

The Nuggets have been dominant against the Clippers in recent years, winning nine of their last ten matchups since 2021. This impressive track record has instilled confidence in the Denver squad as they aim to maintain their winning ways and claim the top spot in Western Conference Group B.

A victory here would automatically advance them to the Knockout Round, bringing them one step closer to becoming the inaugural In-Season Tournament champions. Adding to the excitement, the Nuggets will don their '5280' jerseys for the second time, a move that has become a fan favorite.

However, the injury report for both teams reveals some key absences. Denver will be without Vlatko Čančar, Jamal Murray, Jay Huff, and Hunter Tyson, while the Clippers will miss Brandon Boston Jr., Kobe Brown, and Mason Plumlee.

These injuries could potentially impact the game's dynamics and rotations.

Clippers' Harden Struggles

The Clippers, who made a bold move by acquiring James Harden, a 10-time All-Star, have struggled since the trade, losing five consecutive games.

Harden's performance has also been below expectations, averaging just 13.5 points, 5 rebounds, and 4.3 assists in his recent outings. The Clippers will be eager to turn their fortunes around against a formidable Denver squad.

In contrast, the Nuggets have enjoyed a solid start to the season, boasting an 8-2 record, tied for the second-best in the league. Their unbeaten 6-0 record at home further underscores their prowess. The upcoming game at Ball Arena, their home court, gives Denver a distinct advantage.

Nikola Jokić, the reigning MVP, has been a standout performer, averaging 29.8 points, 13.7 rebounds, and 8.3 assists in his first ten games. These statistics could mark career-highs for Jokić if he maintains this level of play throughout the season.

With Jamal Murray sidelined due to a hamstring injury, Jokić's role as the team leader has become even more pivotal. With four of their next five games scheduled on the road, the Nuggets view this home game against the Clippers as a prime opportunity to secure another victory on their favored Ball Arena court.

As the basketball world tunes in, the Nuggets aim to solidify their position as a dominant force in the Western Conference.

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