Here’s my take from the Clippers last win before the All-Star break over at the Daily Dime for ESPN.com. Basically, it sure is nice to be in the “haves” instead of the “have nots” isn’t it? For so many years, the Clippers were the team saddled with injuries and no real closer to finish games in the fourth quarters. Although it was far from perfect, it was nice to see the Clippers assert their will by riding Chris Paul and Blake Griffin down the stretch. Games aren’t always decided by which team has the best players, but tonight’s was.
MVP: Blake Griffin. An honorable mention goes out to Chris Paul for his 36-point showing, but this was Griffin’s best defensive game of the year, and probably his career. The 27-12-5 line ain’t bad, either.
That was … Star Power: The Nuggets looked great offensively without Ty Lawson, Nene, Rudy Fernandez and Danilo Gallinari for three quarters, but when they needed buckets late they had no stars to lean on while the Clippers had two.
Defining Moment: In three consecutive plays in the fourth, Griffin took a charge, scored on an “And-1”, then nabbed a defensive rebound and started trading elbows. At that point, the shorthanded Nuggets looked helpless.
Here’s the Lob City Ledger over at ESPNLA.com brought to you by Jovan Buha, where he has rave reviews for the Clippers two-man show:
It wasn’t as jaw-dropping as his Kendrick Perkins dunk, but Griffin’s dunk over three Nuggets defenders was nearly as impressive. Before Chris Paul took over, Griffin was the focal point of the offense and managed to finagle his way to the rim despite facing double- and triple-teams. Most importantly, Griffin’s elite passing skills seemed to return, if only for one night.
Once again, Paul showed that with the game on the line, there’s no other player you’d rather have with the ball. After going scoreless in the first quarter, Paul pulled off the impressive feat of having a double-digit scoring output in each of the last three quarters. There’s no doubt this particular team is at its best when Paul is in aggressive, attack mode.
Whenever Jordan was off the floor, the Clippers looked puny inside and were outrebounded and dominated by the Nuggets’ tough frontline. Whenever he was on the floor, though, he grabbed every rebound within sight, deterred the Nuggets from attacking the rim and even finished a few plays around the rim. His numbers don’t always show it, but Jordan is the key to L.A.’s defense.