Thursday saw Lou Williams drop 26 in a classic Lou Will performance, seeing LA to a victory over the Mavericks and ending a four game skid in the process. In doing so, the reigning 6th man of the year tweaked a hamstring, with the strain set to keep the scorer out for 2-4 weeks at least. Losing a player of Williams scoring production is bound to take its toll on a Clippers team who were heavily relying on his 17.5 points per game. Tobias Harris will be expected to make up for the vacancy that will be left by Williams. Harris, who is averaging a little over 21 point this season, is having a slightly slumped December, averaging just under his season statistics in rebounds and points. Without Lou Williams, the creativity of this LA Clippers team is limited, with only forwards Harris and Danilo Gallinari being able to create their own shot. The bench of the Clippers will get a gut-check during this time without Williams, and time will tell who can step up to the plate and keep the fading Clippers relevant in the west.
The Nuggets come into the matchup with the Clippers looking to take advantage of the 114 points that Los Angeles gives up per game. Nikola Jokic has been picking apart all kinds of defenses this year, while also being a part of the third best defense in the NBA. This combination has been enough to propel the exciting Nuggets to first place, with an undefeated 5-0 conference record. Jokic will look to get the better of Marcin Gortat, Boban Marjanovic, and a pair of undersized power forwards that will get defensive looks against Jokic. With the amount of points that LA is giving up, look for Jokic to score 20+ along with double digit assists. Jokic will be able to find his groove against defenders who will back off, allowing him to face the basket, becoming a triple threat. Jokic is currently leading his team in scoring and assisting, and will be able to do both against the Clippers on Saturday.