|2012/2013 NBA Regular Season: Game 29|
|December 25, 2012, 8:30 PM (MT)|
|Staples Center, Los Angeles California
|TV Altitude ESPN/ 950 AM / 104.3 FM The Fan|
|you are here!
|Wilson Chandler and Julyan Stone are out||Injuries||Chauncey Billups (foot)
|Nuggets start 4 games in 5 nights tonight||Stat||The Clippers have won 13 straight games
During the Los Angeles Clippers current 13 game winning streak, they have played only three teams with winning records.
Let that statistic sink in a bit. This in no way invalidates their current winning streak (which is impressive any way you slice it) it just keeps things in a bit of perspective. Particularly when you understand that the Nuggets are now playing their 20th road game of 29 played so far. Pretty staggering. By the time December is over the Nuggets will have played 22 road games ... in the 50 games that are left after that, the Nuggets will have 19 road games. Amazing.
The Clippers have played extremely well, and one could make the argument that they are the best team in the entire league (The Thunder have played a home heavy opening schedule, and the Clippers schedule has been more balanced) despite the relative weakness of their recent opponents. Chris Paul continues to light up opponents, and just won NBA Western Conference player of the week. He's good folks and now he comes with 10% less flopping due to new league rules ... yaay!
Blake Griffin is a good player who continues to irritate me at the very sight of him. I can tell you it's due to the endless overhyping of his "thrunks" (when a ball is not technically dunked, but thrown in a downward motion at the direction of the basket without making contact with the rim) however he is a good player. Please take note of this season's statistics so far:
|2012 - Blake Griffin||18.3||8.9||3.1|
Not bad at all. A step away from elite-level stats, but nevertheless impressive for his continued growth. Griffin spent much of the offseason improving his free throw shooting, and as soon as he starts hitting his outside shot consistently he will be just that much better. However, if Timofey Mozgov (or as Ralph "mush mouth" Lawler says, Moshgoff) gets in the game, I think this should happen yet again. Just sayin'.
Revenge of the Nuggets' Timofey Mozgov on Clipper Blake Griffin (via sarcamsm)
The real revelation on the Clippers this season is the VAST improvement of DeAndre Jordan. Simply put, with all the accolades lauded on Paul and Griffin (and to a lesser extent Eric Bledsoe) it's the improvement of Jordan that has spurred the most advancement in this Clippers club. You can give me all the Jamal Crawfords and the Bledsoe's you want. It's the improvement of Jordan after what was a very down season that is the lynchpin of the Clippers.
|2012 - DeAndre Jordan||27||25.2||4.0||6.9||57.8||0.0||0.0||0.0||1.3||3.1||41.2||2.8||4.2||7.0||0.5||1.7||0.7||1.6||2.6||9.3|
While those stats will never knock you over, it's the general air of play that Jordan done this season that has lifted the starting unit of the Clips to greater heights. As I'm sure there will be a zealous Clipper fan telling me I'm wrong in the comments, BRING IT! Haha, yeah ... but seriously though.
Bledsoe has been the spark plug of the second unit, and may be earning himself a big payday when he gets to restricted free agency. Jamal Crawford is hitting all the shots he never did with the Atlanta Hawks or Portland Trail Blazers. You know there will come a point in time where Crawford will stop hitting those shots consistently. Right now though, since perimeter shooting is the Nuggets' biggest weakness ... uhh ... yeah. Watch out.
Vinny Del Negro is the Clippers coach. The only thing I can say about him is he seems to know how to stay out of the way of this loaded lineup ... but I'm consistently surprised his still coaching in the NBA. Weird.
Nuggets of Wisdom
I think it's insulting to any NBA franchise to say that there's a "no-hope" game. Simply put, that is a bogus way to look at things. While this may be the Nuggets most difficult matchup of the season (you can argue) it doesn't mean that they don't have a shot. While ESPN will be spending the majority of their broadcast waxing poetic and nostalgic about all things Clippers
On this Christmas day, however, maybe it's time to just stop hoping the Nuggets will win and let that anxiety go. I am weirdly confident about the Nuggets' chances in this particular game, and if you pinned me down for a reason I probably couldn't adequately articulate it. The Nuggets have been a historically tough beginning of the season, and believe it or not aren't looking too shabby heading into the beginning of the year. We tend to hyper-amplify the mistakes of your home team and gloss over the faults of other teams. Not worth it.
Have a great Christmas and a Happy Holiday season to you and yours Nuggets fans. Pay close attention tonight, the Nuggets may just surprise you.
Twitter: @jmorton78 https://twitter.com/#!/jmorton78