The Clippers looked like they were being lured into the type of game they shouldn’t want to play against Denver, but former Nugget Kenyon Martin helped seal the deal in the end. Here’s the Lob City Ledger from ESPNLA.com:
There’s virtually no pace that’s uncomfortable for Griffin, and even against a workhorse like Kenneth Faried, Griffin was able to find success on the offensive glass and out in transition. Although he was limited by foul trouble and his own trouble at the free-throw line, Griffin’s ability to put pressure on Denver’s frontline while finding open perimeter players helped pace the Clippers.
Even when he misses, he can’t miss. Paul had a chance to put away the game with a midrange jumper that rimmed out, but the Nuggets were caught overcompensating and were left completely out of position on the glass. The result? An easy putback for Kenyon Martin to give the Clippers a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
In the past, two blown layups would have sent Foye into a shell of himself. But instead of questioning his abilities and hesitating after the missed bunnies, Foye continued to play at the tempo necessary to attack a scrambling defense. Simple swing passes and decisive off-ball movement won’t get recorded in the stat book, but Foye’s play helped grease the wheels for the Clippers’ offense.
The Nuggets offer plenty of fool’s gold for opposing teams who wish to engage them in a running battle at a high altitude. The Clippers were roped into playing fast for the majority of the game, but once crunch time rolled around, Paul played the part of floor general and slowed the pace to an uncomfortably slow tempo. This battle was won with the mind, not the legs.
It’s a familiar scene. The Nuggets typically outplay their opponents for the majority of the game, but ultimately falter in the end when they need someone to create a bucket on their own. Denver will be a tough playoff matchup for either Los Angeles team because of their speed and depth, but Denver’s lack of star-power is extremely difficult to dismiss at this point.