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Los Angeles Clippers vs Denver Nuggets

WESTERN CONFERENCE:

(3) DENVER NUGGETS

Denver is a team with weapons, including the ever-dangerous Carmelo Anthony, tough guy Kenyon Martin and tenacious swingman Marcus Camby. However, two of the three—Martin and Camby have been hurt this year, with each missing more than one-third of the season.

Anthony, at forward, is key to Denver’s success. He led the team in scoring, averaging 26.5 PPG, and has proven to be a clutch performer. He’s had a superstar season.

For the Nuggets, Camby, who was tops on his team in rebounds with 11.9 PG, is a lethal force. When the forward-center takes charge inside, scoring and rebounding, he gives the club an added edge.

At guard, Andre Miller has a keen shot and is able to see the entire court. His 8.2 APG ranked him sixth in the NBA and his total of 674 assists put him third in the league in that category.

Do the banged up Nuggets have enough left to make it through the playoffs? Camby is essential to their success and Martin, whose output dropped this year, is still certainly important. The team is standing on shaky legs, especially with the unforgiving grind of the playoffs ahead.

(6) LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS

That other team from Los Angeles is in the playoffs for the first time since 1997! The Los Angeles Clippers are one of the Cinderella stories of the season. If they get past the first round, which the team has not done since 1976, they’ll be applying for sainthood.

In the frontcourt, Elton Brand can block, rebound and score. He led his team in points per game (24.7) and rebounds per game (10). In the league he was ranked among the leaders in field goal percentage (7th), total blocks (3rd), double-doubles (5th) and rebounds per game (6th). Brand may not have name recognition, but he’s certainly one of the best players in the NBA.

For playmaking and clutch play, Sam Cassell is the Clippers’ go-to guy. Averaging 17.2 PPG and 6.3 APG, Cassell is cool under pressure as his foul line performance—86% accuracy—shows.

Finally, the club has depth, which is a big advantage during the playoffs. They have a good bench, capable of scoring and keeping the game under control.

The Clippers look like they are for real. This surprising team may have some more surprises in store for the playoffs.

Maddux Sports Series Picks

Los Angeles wins series 4-2

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