Nuggets vs Clippers recap: A free throw contest breaks out, blah

The Denver Nuggets score 109 points in their win tonight over the Los Angeles Clippers (109-104). The boring part ... the Nuggets scored 41.2% of their points from the free throw line tonight.

Going to try something a little bit different ... I've broken the game down in quarter before, but I've gone back over my hand written notes and cleaned up my thoughts a bit. Tonight, let's just take a look at my thoughts as the game is going and see how it turns out. I'll even toss in some post game thoughts to see how it all comes together.

 

First Quarter rants ...

My boy Rory texted me before tipoff to inform me the key to the Nuggets game tonight ... his thoughts:

1.) "Keys to tonight's game? Contain the Man-Beast. (Blake Griffin)"
2.) "Contain aka don't let him (Griffin) tear down the Pepsi Center and eat all babies in attendance."

Seems like some pretty reasonable keys to this contest. He also texted to tell me that Key No. 2 was said by our friend Jason, but I doubt Jason was that creative.

  • Masai Ujiri, Chris Marlowe tells us, will be joining him and Scott Hastings at some point to talk. ...Ujiri is sitting with Josh Kroenke in their usual spot and both guys are suited up, pretty sharp dresser that Ujiri.
  • I'd like to know why Billups is now rocking these black sneakers. Also, once again the crowd is late to show up and it's awfully quiet at The Can. Who does't show up to see Blake Griffin do battle against our Nuggets?!
  • DeAndre Jordan getting the start ...
  • Scott Hastings remarks after Melo's first shot (a made three) that Carmelo Anthony is feeling better. Melo shows that shortly after by trying to toss down a dunk in traffic and gets to the foul line.
  • I wanted to see Al-Farouq Aminu tonight ... kid is pretty skinny, but isn't afraid to shoot the ball, but he's being tasked with guarding Melo. Will be interesting to see if he can stay out of foul trouble.
  • Eric Bledsoe gets the start for Baron Davis. Wonder if this will flip-flop so Davis isn't asked to try to guard Ty Lawson ... could be a major advantage for Denver and an oversight by Vinny Del Negro.
  • Griffin showing he's not just a dunker with two made jumpers to start things off for the Clippers.
  • Melo is trying to do way to much to start things off and it's not working out for him. He's 1-3 from the field, 2-4 from the foul line and has 2 turnovers.  
  • You gotta hope that for as many times that Marlowe says, "Lexus" that at least they gave him one to drive. Cracks me up when every time a Nugget takes the ball to the rim to start the game he'll mention that it's a candidate for the "Lexus drive of the game," no matter how easy or not difficult the shot is.
  • Ujiri is now on talking with Marlowe and Hastings. He's a very positive guy and is talking about wanting to get George Karl's extension done. Melo likes Karl and this is a good sign for those holding out hope that Melo might re-sign in Denver.
  • Around the 6:00 mark and Baron Davis is in the game and Billups is still on the floor. I'd like to see Lawson get in there and test Davis' movement on his knee. Chris Kaman also in the game now ... dude is big, still taller than Birdman ... even Bird's Mohawk.
  • Some beers have been spilled courtside ... I can listen to Ujiri without distraction for a few minutes. Ujiri saying Kenyon Martin is "itching" to play after visiting with his doctors, love it.
  • 4:58 mark and J.R. is still on the bench ... Ujiri saying sometimes you have to "kick J.R. in the butt" to get him to act right or get motivated ... haha.
  • Kaman shows some athleticism on a drive to the rim for an awkward angle layup.
  • Hastings mentions that he drives a truck and Marlowe drives a Lexus ... makes sense!
  • Al Harrington in the game and pulls the chair so nicely against Kaman that the ref calls a foul on Big Al ... NBA refs are awful.
  • Griffin gets his league leading 41st dunk to tie the game 19-19 on a nice run out after a missed Harrington jumper ... the zombies in "The Walking Dead" have more life than the Nuggets do tonight. I have to blame the crowd here. Two straight home games with two absolutely dead crowds. No energy in the building to feed the home squad ... Miamian effort from the Coloradans. I wish I was back in Denver so I could attend some more games, weak sauce.
  • J.R. is in the game ... checked it just ahead of the 2:00 mark ... Nuggets getting killed to end this quarter as the Clipps now up 23-21 on a 12-4 run and J.R. gets a technical ... not a good start for J.R. ...
  • Clippers take advantage of the Nuggets sluggish and sloppy play and close the quarter on an 18-8 run and have a 29-25 lead.

Second Quarter rants ...

  • Nuggets had seven turnovers in the first quarter ... yuck! Bird gets two blocks to start the second quarter and J.R. hits a three and then Lawson connects from deep to give the Nuggets the lead back 31-29.
  • Gary Forbes checks in at the 9:50 mark for Melo ... haven't seen much of Forbes lately with Swish's play. ... Another turnover for Denver, this time by Big Al.
  • Just fielded a phone call from my CU fanatic friend about Eric Bienemy becoming the next offensive coordinator for the Buffaloes. Getting a lot of the old crew back together in Boulder ... will it matter?
  • Watching the Nuggets take jumpers and threes is getting frustrating ... J.R. just hit a nice floater in the lane ... Nuggets need to get into attack mode. Harrington on the other end fouls Griffin for an And1 in the paint, that Man-Beast is nasty. Man-Beast swats Big Al on the other end ... Clippers gaining more-and-more confidence as this game wears on. Denver needs to get control of the game flow. Gotta look at Lawson to get control of the offense or J.R. for this second unit as it's 38-35 L.A.C.
  • The 6:22 mark Billups returns with Lawson on the floor ... blah! And in my face Billups buries a three to tie the game at 38 ... low scoring affair.
  • TV timeout at the 5:48 mark ... Griffin called for a travel as he was getting ready to put Nene in a poster and re-thought his take off for flight ... that could have been a battle!
  • Maya Starks talking to K-Mart coming back from the TV timeout ... Doctor gave K-Mart good reviews on Monday. Martin says he's going to be himself when he comes back. When asked about Karl being re-signed he says it's good for the team, but they are not sure if they'll be playing bball next year (lockout).
  • It feels like the Nuggets are waiting for the Clippers to roll-over for them. I don't see it happening, the Nuggets are going to have to put in some real damn effort tonight to avoid allowing the Clipps to get their first road win of the season. A quick shot of the Nuggets bench shows a bunch of meloncholy faces ... not good. Clipps up 43-41.
  • Nene is the only guy for Denver that stands a chance against Griffin. On the other end Beard Face Davis tries to body up Melo in the post and pays for it as Melo flat backs him and heads to the foul line after blocking is called on Davis. Tie game at 43. Melo is now 2-9 shooting with 13 points (8-10 from the foul line).
  • A quick shot of the crowd at the 2:58 mark and a kid is eating Dipping Dots ... lucky little guy, those things are AWESOME!
  • Renaldo Balkman is on the bench tonight with the team ... CRIMESTOPPER up for the Afflalo made three to tie things at 46, nice assist from Melo.
  • Nuggets are shooting 32.3% in this one ... have missed a total of 1,276 bunnies thus far by my unofficial count as Shelden Williams misses from point blank range after Bird misses two free throws.
  • Nuggets take a 49-48 lead into the half ... a very forgettable first half. Nuggets win the second quarter 24-19.
  • Denver takes a huge free throw advantage into the locker room: 24-30 compared to 8-12 for the Clipps.
  •  

 

Third Quarter rants ...

  • Melo on LeBron's return to Cleveland, saying, even though LBJ is one of his best friends, he would not have talked to him before or during the game and he knows Byron Scott was upset along with former Nuggets assistant Jamahl Mosley ... good stuff. Check Mosley telling LBJ to uh...be quiet here.
  • Second half is underway ... Nuggets were just 31.2% in the first half shooting ... and points in the paint 36-6 in favor of the Clippers ... yikes!
  • Billups starts the second half with two nice bricked three pointers in a row. Wait ... that wasn't good. Nuggets start 0-3 from deep, Nene grabs a big board and slams it home. Please take the ball inside Denver ... please!
  • This game is just very disjoined for the Nuggets. The Nuggets are typically very unselfish at home, but right now they have just 8 total team assists ... that is awful. Lots of one-on-one play and that is not a receipe for success for the Nuggets.
  • Nene just blew an easy dunk off a nice feed from Billups, this game is just ugly. That marks Denver's 1,289th missed easy bucket. Clippers hit a three on the other end, a Melo awful spin right into Griffin, a foul by Billups and the Clippers are looking to build on their 5-point lead as it's 58-53 now. ... 59-53 after Aminu goes 1-2 from the line.
  • At the rate Melo is going I don't know if he'll be able to dunk in two seasons. Guy just is not an above the rim player ... Melo has a chance for a three-point play, but blows the lay up as he can't get all the way up to the rim. This concerns me. Charles Barkley got things done as his dunking ablity declined, so I guess Melo could be okay.
  • Somehow the Nuggets are again tied at 61 with a Billups three-ball. Four-point swing for the Nuggets and Melo drive the lane and dunks the ball with authority and gets fouled by Aminu ... I'm an idiot. 63-61 Denver ... Melo blows the free throw.
  • Just when thing start to look a little bright for the Nuggets the Clippers battle back and go on a little 6-0 run to take a 67-63 lead ...
  • Melo grabs a nice offensive board and puts the layup back in ... on the replay you see Melo absorb contact on the way up ... maybe that is taking away his flight as he takes a lot of contact around and in the paint.
  • J.R. into the game at the 5:30 mark ... he throws the ball to Bledsoe for an easy layup ... whoops. This game is turrible ... just turrible.
  • J.R. bangs in a three and is working hard guarding Eric Gordan ... Billups with an uncontested layup to give Denver a 72-71 lead off a J.R. created steal.
  • J.R. gets a steal on Griffin off a quick double-team ... Billups turns it over on the other end ...
  • I thought there would be tacos tonight ... it's not looking like it. Lots of whistles, turnovers, and just flat out bad basketball tonight. Birdman has 8 free throw attempts tonight ... crazy.
  • Melo is now 12-16 from the foul line .....
  • OH!!! LAWSON BURIES A 3/4 LENGTH SHOT FROM JUST INSIDE THE CLIPPERS THREE-POINT LINE WITH 2.6 SECONDS ON THE CLOCK TO give Denver a 81-77 lead heading into the final quarter. Nuggets win the quarter 32-29.
  • Denver records 5 assists in the quarter to bring their team total to just 13 on the night.

  

Fourth Quarter rants ...

  • It's winning time as Magic Johnson would say ... Melo hits a jumper 83-77 Denver.
  • Bird gets another block (his 5th), this time on Ryan Gomes ... on the other end Melo will head to the line for free throw attempts 17 and 18. Melo is now 13-18.
  • Lawson steals the inbounds pass, J.R. gets a charge. Lawson steals it again after the Clipps get the ball across half court and makes an uncontested lay in ... 86-77 Nuggets.
  • The Clippers refuse to go away as Brian Cook's corpse buries a three ... Lawson answers back a couple possessions later 89-80 Nuggets, Cook answers 89-83 Nuggets. Clippers still hanging around. Cook with a heat check three and misses it ...
  • Bird collects his 6th block on Bledsoe under the hoop and flies over the top of the rookie, gets undercut, and Bird comes down HARD on his back ... he gets up after wincing in pain for a few seconds and makes his way to the bench for a TV timeout .... scary moment. Hope Birdman is okay as he headed to the training room. (Up date from Maya ... lower back contusion, wont return).
  • Brian Cook is killing the Nuggets as he's 3-4 from deep in the period ... 89-88 Nuggets. Another close game for Denver.
  • J.R. continuing to attack the rim, over dribbling a bit, but makes a circus layup and has the chance for an old school three-pointer, a much needed play ... he sinks the free throw. 92-88 Denver.
  • I've been trying to figure out who is sitting under the Clipper offensive basket this quarter ... it's Eddie Royal of the Denver Broncos ... great receiver.
  • J.R. bangs in a jumper for his 15th point of the night. Kid is clutch down the stretch. 96-89 Denver.
  • Off an inbounds ... J.R. to Billups, quickly to Melo, quicker to Nene for the JAM. 98-89 Nuggets. Getting close to the nail in Clipps coffin once again. Can the Nuggets close this out in easy fashion? 4:06 left ...
  • Clipps on a 4-0 run ... so much for an easy ending. (J.R. with a bad turnover off an over dribble and getting caught in the air with nowhere to go above the foul line).
  • Billups feeds J.R. in the corner for a three ball ... good ... Nuggets up 103-93. A pretty good game from Swish tonight. He's 6-10 from the field (3-5 from deep), 3-3 from the foul line for 18 points, 4 rebounds, but 5 turnovers. And still time left with 2:41 on the clock.
  • Clipps come right back on a 4-0 run ... Afflalo missed three and the Clipps are still fighting. Gordan now with two dunks in the last three possessions ... 103-99 ...
  • The refs have not been giving the Clippers any breaks tonight ... J.R. will head to the foul line off a loose ball foul by Gordan after a near turnover for free throw attempts 50 and 51 tonight ... that's disgusting if you're a Clippers fan. 1-2 for J.R.
  • Nene fouls out with 11 points as Gordan's drive to the hoop is called a block ... 104-101 with 54.3 seconds left.
  • Nuggets turn it over ... as usual for the night ... Clippers miss a three ... Harrington comes up with the loose ball and gets fouled. Big Al rattles in the first freebie and bricks the second. With 53 free throw shot attempts tonight the Nuggets have the 2010-11 record thus far and there is still time. Denver is now 41-53 on the night from the charity stripe.
  • Clippers still in this one ... Griffin at the line after a hard foul by Melo to make sure a dunk wasn't given up. 1-2 from the line, Big Al grabs a BIG board in traffic and has a chance to try to ice the game. More foul shots! Boo. A brick by Harrington to start things ... and he misses again. J.R. keeps it alive, Melo saves it from going out of bounds, and Billups will head to the foul line to ice it ... he hits both shots. The Nuggets are now 43-57 from the foul line and lead 107-102.
  • This game is finally over as J.R. makes the last two free throws of the game to give Denver a 109-104. Denver wins the quarter 28-27.

 

Post Game thoughts ...

The Clippers shoot 20-29 from the foul line on the night.

The Nuggets shoot 45-59 from the foul line on the night.

The two teams combined to go 65-88 from the charity stripe. Who paid to see these guys shoot free throws?

The Nuggets set the NBA season highs for foul shots attempted and made tonight. The game was stopped so much that it took just under three hours to play. Not really the best way to start your Friday night if your in Denver, but the Nuggets collected their sixth win in a row and kept the Clippers winless on the road this season.

This was a very ugly win, but a win none-the-less. I'll take some blame for the Nuggets sloppy play. I've been covering a lot of road games this season and it looks like the Nuggets played a road game because of their style of play tonight. Denver played too much one-on-one basketball, only had 17 team assists, and turned the ball over 19 times. Short memories will be needed, but at least Denver got the win. The Clippers hung around all night and even controlled the flow for most of the game, but the Nuggets prevailed late once again.

J.R. had a pretty good game as he finished with 21 points and 4 rebounds, but like I mentioned above, his 5 turnovers were less than desireable. Melo and Billups each committed 4 turnovers and Lawson added to that with 3 of this own.

The Nuggets are now 7-0 when J.R. plays 25+ minutes a night.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go throw up after watching this one ...

 

 

 

ntimmons73@yahoo.com
Twitter: Nate_Timmons

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