The LA Clippers won a season high 4th game in a row vs the visiting Denver Nuggets. Jamal Crawford and Blake Griffin led the scoring attack netting 27 and 24 points respectively and it ended being a blowout 112-91 over the injury riddled Nuggets at the Staples Center. Chris Paul had 10 points and 11 assists and they were in full control the whole way. They were missing forward- Danilo Gallanari, who has been out all year recovering from ACL surgery, center- JaVale McGee who has been out with a left tibia stress fracture and lost power forward Kenneth Faried just over 3 minutes into this game as he landed on a cameraman on a fastbreak and sprained his ankle and did not return.
They were led by Wilson Chandler, who had a great first quarter and ended with 19 points but none in the second half and Timofey Mozgov scoring 15 off the bench but they were clearly out-manned and out-played. It also didn’t help that they were 6-30 in 3 point shooting (that is not too good but better than a game they had earlier this year when they went 0-22 from 3 point range vs. Portland) so without any long distance scoring and missing key big men has put the team in a hole as they dropped to 14-12 for the year. New coach Brian Shaw is doing his best keeping the team together and to stay competitive until they get healthy.
The Clippers, now 19-9, had balanced scoring and played well as a team to dominate Denver in this match up. They also got 13 points each off the bench from Darren Collison and Matt Barnes, who returned to action after missing 13 games due to a torn retina eye injury from a Zach Randolph elbow. The team was a combined 13-33 in three point shooting as coach Doc Rivers had them playing an open fast paced game. Rivers said he was very happy how the team started and loved having Barnes back. He said, “He looked good. He just gives us something extra – the toughness, the cutting, the basketball IQ. His shot looked good.”
Of course the night couldn’t be complete without some highlight reel plays including some awesome dunks by Griffin (one off a rebound shot and the other on a coast to coast drive after grabbing the rebound and dribbling the length of the floor). The most entertaining move of the night was when Griffin took another rebound and dribbled the full court going around his back 3 times before doing a 360 spin to lay it in but it didn’t count as he was fouled by Ty Lawson before finishing the play. There was also a fantastic double block by Griffin and DeAndre Jordan on JJ Hickson and Collison’s buzzer beating throw in right before the halftime buzzer.
The Clippers face the Minnesota Timberwolves in a back-to-back game before being off till Christmas when they play at Golden State and then Portland the next night. JJ Reddick is supposed to get his cast off next week and then will start rehab to get back to action. More at www.clippers.com