Despite being outplayed for large stretches of the last two games, the Clippers are up 2-1 on Denver in the second round and can seize a commanding lead of the series in Game 4. The last time the Clippers were in this position, they were seconds away from a 3-1 advantage over Dallas before Luka Doncic tied the series.
This series has followed many of the same beats as that first-round matchup against the Mavericks thus far, so hopefully the Clippers have learned their lesson and will bring out the requisite effort to put away the Nuggets early. Then again, Denver was down 3-1 in its first-round series and still found a way to win that matchup.
The last two games have been competitive and entertaining just in terms of the on-court action, but Patrick Beverley and Michael Malone added a little fuel to the fire with their off-court over the past two days.
After Game 3, Beverley said that Nikola Jokic presented a similar challenge to Doncic in that both players flail and put the impetus on the referees to make the right calls. In the video, you can tell Beverley is trying to choose his words carefully, but he still stepped on a nerve. Also, the fact that Beverley is wearing a Real Madrid jersey while slandering a former Madrid star in Doncic adds another level of hilarity.
Patrick Beverley on Nikola Jokic - "“Jokic presents the same thing Luka Doncic presents. A lot of flailing, puts a lot of pressure on the referees to make the right call. I think Zu did a hell of a job, used all his 6 fouls."#Clippers pic.twitter.com/VtV1X6lfrr— Tomer Azarly (@TomerAzarly) September 8, 2020
When Malone was asked for his thoughts on Beverley’s comments, the Nuggets head coach dismissed the source.
Michael Malone on Pat Beverley's comments on the difficulties of defending Nikola: "I don't listen to Patrick Beverley a whole lot. If Kawhi Leonard was talking, I might listen. Kawhi's a great player."— Mirjam Swanson (@MirjamSwanson) September 8, 2020
Here’s what you need to know for how to watch Beverley v. Malone, and the rest of Game 4.
Where: AdventHealth Arena, Orlando, Florida
When: Wednesday, September 9 at 6:00 p.m. PT
How to watch: ESPN
Projected Starting Lineups
Clippers: Patrick Beverley, Paul George, Kawhi Leonard, Marcus Morris Sr., Ivica Zubac
Nuggets: Jamal Murray, Gary Harris, Jerami Grant, Paul Millsap, Nikola Jokic
Nuggets: Will Barton (right knee), Vlatko Cancar (left foot) — OUT
More news for Wednesday:
- The Clippers have officially secured the rights to the land to build the Inglewood Basketball and Entertainment Center for a total price of $66.25 million, per a release from the team. The wait list for season tickets is officially open.
- Billy Donovan will not be returning as the Thunder head coach after five seasons with the team and failing to advance out of the first round in the last four. That’s one more coaching opening to keep in mind this offseason.
- After initially only allowing players to bring guests into the bubble, the NBA will now allow other team staff members the same privilege.
The NBA is allowing team staff to bring guests into the bubble starting with the conference finals, per memo shared with teams.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) September 8, 2020
- The Heat completed their upset of the Bucks in five games, knocking out the pre-postseason title favorites.
- Meanwhile, the Lakers took a 2-1 lead in their series over the Rockets thanks to a vintage LeBron James performance.