We finally have the first semifinal matchup in the Western Conference. The Los Angeles Clippers will take on the Denver Nuggets in what should be a great matchup. In the East, we already have both series underway. The Toronto Raptors and Boston Celtics in one and the Milwaukee Bucks and Miami Heat in the other. The lower seeds are ahead with the Celtics up 2-0 and the Heat winning Game 1. The Clippers finished off Luka and the Dallas Mavericks in 6 games. Denver came back from being down 3-1 to winning the final 3 games and beating Utah in 7. Los Angeles is hoping to their first ever conference championship. With the addition of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, the Clippers were immediately one of the favorites in the west.
Paul George struggled in the first couple games of the series before busting out in Game 3. Kawhi Leonard proved why he’s one of the best in the league with his amazing performance during the opening round. Jamal Murray exploded in the opening round series against Utah. Murray put up a couple of 50 point games as he dueled with Donovan Mitchell. The Nuggets are hoping to work Gary Harris Jr. into the lineup more after finally playing in game 5. Nikola Jokic showed why he’s one of the best players in the league. Jokic hit the go ahead basket in game 7 en route to a 30 point, 14 rebounds performance.
Will Denver get scoring from anyone other than Murray and Jokic? Someone like Paul Milsap, Michael Porter Jr. or even Gary Harris Jr. will need to step up against the Clippers. Denver has all the pieces that could provide problems for Los Angeles. Will the effects of going 7 games haunt the Nuggets in the first game or series? Can Denver surprise the Clippers and advance to the Western Conference Finals? The Clippers are known for their defense, but Luka Doncic exploded on them and almost won the series by himself. In my opinion, if Porzingis didn’t get hurt or ejected in Game 1 the series would’ve been different. We even saw Luka exit Game 3 with an ankle injury. Dallas would’ve won that series, but it doesn’t matter now.
The Clippers advanced and looking to make their first conference championship. The Clippers should have Patrick Beverly to antagonize the Denver guards this series. Paul George and Kawhi Leonard are top defenders also. Will the Clippers play with more of an urgency during this series? Can Kawhi lead another team to a conference championship? Will Paul George struggle against the Nuggets? This could be a high scoring series seeing both sides have their share of scorers. The Clippers are one of my 5 favorites to win the championship. I’m not giving up on them now as I’m picking them to win the series in 6 games. Los Angeles Wins Series 4-2