Can a game be any more predictably a loss? A quick turnaround to an altitude arena against a fast paced team with one of the best home records in the league. Complicate that by taking one of the Clippers’ bench weapons (Crawford) off the table and limit the second unit engine (Bledsoe) to a 15 minutes restriction, and a victory would be hard to come by. But the Clippers get a few days off to recuperate and hopefully continue their march towards the 3-seed and the playoffs. Bottoms up!
Los Angeles Clippers
Recap | Box score
MVP: Ty Lawson. Lawson started the game slow with two points and six assists in the first half. But in the third quarter, Lawson exploded for 10 points and four assists, surging the Nuggets past the Clippers.
X factor: Andre Iguodala. The trend against the Clippers has been to put the best, longest perimeter defender on Chris Paul and hope it does the trick. Thursday night, Iguodala harassed and hurried Paul all over the floor. The box score may look like CP3 had a decent night, but nothing was easy against the All-NBA defender.
Defining moment: Denver’s third-quarter barrage. The first half was a relatively even affair as both teams were wary of the other in the open court, but the Nuggets broke the game open in the third behind a blistering 6-for-7 display from behind the arc and cruised in the fourth quarter to their 27th home victory of the season.
– Andrew Han
Tweet of the Game
Chris Paul called for the tech. To avoid a possible second T, he’s gonna wear a Bobby V mustache the rest of the game and say he’s Cliff.
— Benjamin Hochman (@nuggetsnews) March 8, 2013
Eric Bledsoe Per 36 Stat O’ The Night
ClipperBlog Live’s Best Moment
A two-man show as Patrick tempers his frustrations as a fan with some upbeat info: the Clippers are guaranteed to have back-to-back winning seasons for the first time since… well, being the Clippers.
Check Your Messages
Too Little, Too Blake
On a night when L.A.’s two best players have been complete non-factors for the first two quarters, the Clippers were nevertheless tied with the Nuggets at halftime. Once Blake and Chris get back to normal, you might have thought to yourself, the Clippers will create separation and pull away. A few minutes of the third, it even looked like things were falling into place, as the Clippers established a 54-49 lead.
That would have been a good time to turn off the TV.
For the remaining quarter and a half, Denver ran the Clippers out of the building. What’s odd is that Griffin and Paul finally did come alive in the third—Griffin with a nice series of post-moves (though his two total rebounds leave a lot to be desired) and Paul with two threes and a coast-to-coast drive to beat the third quarter buzzer. But although Paul’s final numbers look solid enough (16, 10, and 4), he didn’t have a meaningful impact on the game.
- Patrick James
What a Differential a Day Makes
What was the difference tonight? Buckets. Denver got them and the Clippers didn’t. L.A. was downright frigid, shooting 42.4 percent overall and dropping just 7 of 22 threes. Denver, meanwhile, shot a sizzling 55.8 percent and knocked down 11 threes. But there’s more to it than just Denver made more shots. (Well, except, not really.)
There are three key differentials worth looking at: points off turnovers (the Clippers, surprisingly, were a +8 here); fast break points (Denver was a +11); and three-point shooting (Denver was a +12). By my abacus, 12 + 11 – 8 = 15. There’s your 15-point loss.
Simply put, the Clippers gave up too many easy shots—transition layups and corner threes—and didn’t make enough of their own to be a real threat to win this game.
- Patrick James
Silver Linings Pace-book
A positive takeaway from Thursday night’s drubbing: The Clippers and Nuggets were on pace for 90 possessions after the first half and ended at 88. That is well below Denver’s home pace of 98.21 and the Clippers road pace of 93.07.
Clearly, Karl and Del Negro were wary of the other team’s proclivity for uptempo pace and production, but the game pace, especially in the first half, was far more in line with the comforts of Los Angeles than Denver. It’s heartening that Los Angeles can dictate a tempo against the most extreme of oppositions even though they were unable to contain other aspects, i.e. three-point shooting.
- Andrew Han