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NBA West Preview: Clippers vs. Denver and Lakers vs. 76ers

There’s a full slate of NCAA games on Tuesday but still plenty of NBA West news and games. The big story continues to be the Los Angeles Clippers (25-6) who went through December without a loss. It is only one of three teams in league history to do so.

They’ll hit the ground running this week with four games. Two could pose a challenge as the match ups include teams with winning records and a third one at .500. Their week will end against the Lakers.

Can their streak continue against the Denver Nuggets?

On tap for additional action from the west on Tuesday is Portland at New York and Sacramento at Detroit (-6.5, 197 o/u).

There’s also the LA Lakers (15-15) to end the day, who will host the Philadelphia 76ers (14-16).

Clippers vs. Denver 

Clippers Blake Griffin

With 17 straight wins, the Clippers blew through December without a loss. They join two other teams to do so: the San Antonio Spurs (1995-96 with Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro) and the Lakers (1971-72). From their team-record win streak, it represents the longest one since the Boston Celtics had 19 straight ones four years ago.

The wins have come from a deep bench–notably Jamal Crawford–and without two injured veteran teammates, Chauncey Billups and Grant Hill.

The Clippers could face a tough test on Tuesday when they travel to Denver to play the Nuggets. The team doesn’t like to lose at home (9-1) and it would love to break their streak.

In their Christmas Day meeting, the Clippers won 112-100. Crawford led in scoring (22 points), one of six players to grab double numbers. Defense was also key to the win as the Clippers held Danilo Gallinari, the Nuggets’ top scorer, to seven points from his 1 for 10 shooting, reported ESPN.

Fortunately for Denver, Gallinari had a career-high day (39 points) in their next game against the Dallas Mavericks. The team saw one more win before an ugly 81-72 loss against Memphis last Saturday, scoring their fewest points for the season to date.

In Tuesday’s game, the Clippers will look for Blake Griffin to stay out of foul trouble and continue to share the wealth among its players to get it done.

The bettors don’t have faith, giving Denver the win (-1, 206 o/u).

Lakers vs. Philadelphia

Lakers Kobe Bryant

With five consecutive wins, the Lakers are slowly getting their bounce back and fortunately for them, veteran guard Kobe Bryant is piquing at the right time.

From his 47.8 field-goal percentage, it’s a career-high for him. He sits at the top of the league for scoring with 30.1 points per game as December was a historic month for him from his average scoring of 33.79 points or higher.

Bryant is happy about the play and said on Monday via ESPN, “This is probably the best I’ve played in awhile. I’ve had years the last few years where I’ve felt pretty good but we kept my minutes down so the numbers didn’t look the same, but this year I feel pretty good.”

For Tuesday, the Lakers will enter the game after winning their last seven of eight games and three consecutive home ones.

The team is starting to click with Dwight Howard and Steve Nash, who is averaging 12.3 points, 9.5 assists and 2.5 turnovers up his return.

For the 76ers, they started out strong at 12-9, but have suffered two consecutive losses. They don’t play well on the road, losing eight of nine, which won’t bode well against a team finds success on the home court.

Philadelphia’s bright spot is Jrue Holiday, playing at career highs in points (18.6) and assists (8.9). He missed the first game against the Lakers on Dec. 16 but Nick Young took over, scoring a season-high 30 points and 6 for 12 three pointers. But Bryant was hotter and the Lakers won 111-98.

The Lakers are a team on the rise with a +750 to win it all in June while the 76ers are falling.

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