On the list of Nuggets losses to sub-.500 teams was a November 20th loss at the Clippers. At the time we called that a bad loss, but the Clips have played much better basketball since then...even hovering around .500 had they not recently gone on a four-game losing streak.
As has become customary for Nuggets opponents at Pepsi Center lately, the Clippers will be playing the second of a back-to-back when they face off against the Nuggets on Thursday night. Given that the Nuggets will also be playing the second of a back-to-back, expect two somewhat weary teams to duke it out, with the Clippers size giving the Nuggets problems.
They may be below .500, but the Clippers have proven that they can beat anyone in the NBA this season. Among the Clippers victories include wins over the Lakers, Trail Blazers, Celtics, Thunder and our Nuggets, and they lost by just one point to the Cavaliers last Saturday.
But the Clippers are still the Clippers, after all, and have undergone a season that has included two separate four-game losing streaks, as well as two separate three-game losing streaks. They've also been on the wrong side of some lop-sided losses, including defeats by 28, 25, 31 and 40. In other words, even though both teams will be on the second of a back-to-back and the Clippers have a bigger front line than the Nuggets do, should the Nuggets blow this game it will land squarely in the "bad loss" category.
SCOUTING THE CLIPPERS...
-Baron Davis: Baron's points, assists, steals and field goal percentage are all up marginally this season. But considering he averaged 10 year lows in those categories last season and is getting paid $12.1 million this season, he's still robbing the Clippers.
-Blake Griffin: I hate to kick the rookie while he's down, but it certainly didn't take long for Griffin to succumb to the Clippers curse, did it? Maybe the NBA should have rigged the lottery for Griffin's home town Oklahoma City Thunder to land the first overall pick, after all (as I wrongly predicted would happen at the time).
-Mardy Collins: Playing the role of one of Isiah Thomas' goons that instigated the infamous Madison Square Garden Melee a few years ago, Collins will forever be a Stiff in the eyes of Nuggets fans. Now buried on the Clippers bench, Collins is "averaging" just 1.5 ppg on a mere 33.3% field goal shooting.
-Chris Kaman: During Wednesday night's Altitude broadcast, Scott Hastings suggested that Kaman be the 12th All-Star and he may very well be right. Racking up 20.4 ppg, 9.3 rpg and shooting 50.9% from the field puts Kaman - statistically at least - among the top true centers in the NBA.
-Marcus Camby: Still (wrongly) branded a Stiff by many Nuggets fans, even the Camby haters must admit that a front line of Camby, Kenyon Martin and Nene (with Carmelo Anthony moving to the two-guard spot) for spots throughout games would look pretty damn good right now going up against the Lakers, Mavericks, Spurs and Lakers.
-Eric Gordon: An undersized two-guard, Gordon is having a solid sophomore season. Making Gordon especially dangerous is his ability to make long-range shots while also being able to dunk on anybody.
Photo courtesy of AP Photos: Jeff Lewis