|7 DEN (-105) @ pinnacle|
8* Take Denver (#733)
There were two parts to the Clippers collapse against Denver. The mainstream perception seems to be that the Clippers blew the series with their poor play. I watched the series. Yes, LA wasn’t great. But Denver was. This Nuggets team is still searching for any semblance of respect – even in the betting marketplace.
There’s been nothing fraudulent about the Nuggets run. Since getting blown out of Games 2 & 3 in the first round of the Jazz, Denver has been in every game, with the exception of their ‘completely out of gas’ Game 1 against the Clips; less than 48 hours after their grueling seven game war with the Jazz ended. This time around, the Nuggets have had extra time between series.
Denver’s defense was spectacular against Utah and it only got better against the Clippers, effectively shutting down LA after halftime in each of the last four games. Nikola Jokic is the best center in basketball. Jamal Murray is thriving on center stage. Gary Harris has lived up to his ‘defensive stopper’ reputation. The bench is deep. The rebounding is solid. Mike Malone is making good adjustments at halftime. No, Denver hasn’t been here before, and I’m not convinced they can win this series. But there’s clear value betting against the Lakers in this pointspread range.
We know Denver wants to be here. The Lakers have been complaining about how boring it is in the bubble waiting for the next series. LA, in some ways, is like the Clippers – they re-made their team on the fly as the season progressed including swapping out their starting guards at the start of the playoffs; not a team with years worth of positive chemistry built up. The Lakers lost Game 1 against the Blazers and they lost Game 1 against the Rockets – a VERY flawed Rockets team that the Lakers are getting far too much credit for dismantling. No surprise here if they lose Game 1 against Denver too – be sure to sprinkle a little something on the moneyline. Take the Nuggets.