The Clippers Beat The Nuggets To Secure The No. 2 Seed In The West

The Clippers went into their Wednesday night showdown with the Nuggets with a chance to secure the No. 2 seed in the West, and they did just that with a 124-111 victory, setting them on a collision course with the Dallas Mavericks in the opening round of the playoffs starting next week.

They did it behind big games from their two main stars, with Kawhi Leonard and Paul George finishing with 26 points and 27 points respectively, leading all scorers on the night despite some spotty shooing stretches from each of them.

Nikola Jokic was his usual MVP-level self in the loss, finishing with 17 points, 13 assists, and seven rebounds on the night, but it was Jerami Grant who led the way for Denver with a 25-point outburst on 9-of-14 shooting, including 4-of-7 from three-point territory.

As if we needed reminding, Jokic showed again in the first half why he’s one of the best passing big men in the game today with this full-court bomb to Michael Porter Jr. for the layup. It was one of six assists for Joker in the first half, to go along with 15 points, as he led Denver to a 58-50 lead at the break.

Bol Bol continued his solid play in the first half, putting up seven points on 3-of-4 shooting and throwing down a highlight-reel dunk on the break.

Kawhi had 14 points in the first half and came out firing in the third quarter, and the Clippers were able to close the gap and take a 70-63 lead, thanks to a 13-0 run midway through the period.

George had a rough shooting start, going 3-of-13, and 1-of-5 from behind the arc in the first half, but he hit back-to-back threes in the third quarter to help build the Clippers’ lead.

But Grant came up big for the Nuggets during that stretch, scoring 13 points in the quarter, and he capped it off by throwing down a huge jam with the clock winding down to give Denver a 92-90 advantage heading into the final frame.

Lou Williams was his usual self, dropping 22 points in just over 24 minutes of action off the bench Wednesday as he continues to work his way back into a rhythm.

The Clippers took their largest lead of the game midway through the fourth quarter, 108-99, thanks in part to George, who came alive after a slow start, scoring 19 points in the second half, including several big shots down the stretch to keep the game out of reach.

For Denver, the loss locks them into a first round matchup with 6-seeded Utah (after OKC locked down the 5-seed with a win over Miami) that figures to be very interesting, as neither team is currently at full strength and will have to continue adapting to new rotations in the playoffs. The full Western Conference playoff bracket is now set aside from the wild chase for the play-in series and a date with the Lakers.

1. Los Angeles Lakers v. 8. Blazers/Grizzlies/Suns/Spurs
4. Houston Rockets v. 5. Oklahoma City Thunder

2. Los Angeles Clippers v. 7. Dallas Mavericks
3. Denver Nuggets v. 6. Utah Jazz