The Clippers vs. Nuggets winner advances game 7 starts at 9 pm EDT.
Nuggets (+7.5) @ Clippers (208.5)
Pick: Under 208.5
We took last week’s Game 7 between Boston and Toronto in the Eastern Conference Semifinals under the total and we’re going to do the same with a Game 7 in the Western Conference semis tonight. After cashing in the Celtics-Raptors series, unders in Game 7s in the NBA improved to 31-19 since 2005. The logic makes sense here the more you think about it. Good defense is all about effort and intensity which there should be no shortage of in a winner-take-all game. On offense, who can blame either team for a few more nervous possessions? That could lead to a few extra turnovers or a few more poor shot selections.
Now let’s try to translate some of these general perceptions about Game 7s to tonight’s game. Denver has gotten back into the series with defense. The Clippers are averaging just under 110 points per game in their three wins in the series and a shade over 101 points per game in their three losses. That may not seem like a drastic difference, but it is for a Denver team that was 19th in the NBA in points per game and 15th in the NBA in 3-point field goal percentage in the regular season. Granted, the Nuggets were fourth in the Association in field goal percentage but that’s more a sign of the kind of style they want to play. Denver has always been content to slow things down, find high-percentage shots and keep games in the upper 90s or low 100s. Factor that in with a lot of pressure on the Clippers to deliver tonight while the entire sports world continues to salivate over a matchup with the Lakers in the conference finals, and there’s a strong case for another low-scoring Game 7.