Extra Pass: Skidding Nuggets, Clippers face off

Published March 22, 2022, 6:00 PMRenee Ticzon

Both the Nuggets and Clippers are hoping to bounce back from recent losses. Catch the game live at 10:00 AM on NBA TV Philippines via the Smart GigaPlay app or Cignal TV.

Head-to-head this season

Dec. 27 - Nuggets 103, Clippers 100
Jan. 12 - Clippers 87, Nuggets 85
Jan. 20 - Nuggets 130, Clippers 128

What’s going on with the Denver Nuggets?

There’s a fine line keeping the Denver Nuggets afloat, and it’s not something they want to cross. Thanks to the Minnesota Timberwolves’ loss earlier today, the Nuggets remain at No. 6, narrowly ahead of the play-in bracket. 

Denver needs to pick up the pace if they want to automatically qualify for the playoffs. They hold a record of 42-30 with a two-game losing streak, so they need to act fast. Teams have finally found a way to limit Jokic’s production as seen against the Boston Celtics, so the Nuggets cannot solely rely on him anymore.

Guys like Will Barton and Monte Morris need to bump up their consistency. By the way things are going, Denver could drop down a few ranks if they don’t clean up their act fast.

What’s going on with the Los Angeles Clippers?

Like the Nuggets, the Los Angeles Clippers are in the danger zone. They are currently at the eighth seed, but at least they have a few games separating them and the Lakers. And while the season of the Clippers looks grim, it’s the best they can do as of the moment.

Despite just playing 26 games, Paul George remains the Clippers’ highest scorer and assists leader. The Clippers have had to reach deep to help their team out. Sometimes it’s Reggie Jackson, other times it’s Marcus Morris Sr., then they also have the occasional Terance Mann blowout. 

Unfortunately, the Clippers have not found someone they can rely on consistently, which will pose a problem if Kawhi Leonard and George don’t make it in time for the postseason.

Storyline to watch out for

If there’s one matchup that fans should keep an eye out for, it’s between the two European big men – Ivica Zubac and Nikola Jokic. There’s no denying that Jokic’s individual talent is the primary reason the Nuggets are staying afloat. When the Joker has a bad game, oftentimes, Denver suffers defeat. Luckily for them, this does not happen often.

That’s why Zubac a major role to play in this contest. There can be several cases against Zubac, as evidenced by Jokic’s averages of 32 points, 16.3 rebounds, and 8.7 assists against the Clippers. Sure, Zubac is not an elite defender like Rudy Gobert or Robert Williams III, but he has the unique ability to get under Jokic’s skin.

Whether it’s a couple of gnarly jabs or an occasional push or two, Zubac has a lot of tricks under his belt that would keep the competition exciting.