Tied with one minute left to go, the Nuggets' old friend Kenyon Martin tips in a horrible shot by Chris Paul with the shot clock expiring ... setting in motion a sequence of events that led to a loss by the Nuggets.
Nuggets lose 104-98.
As Kmart's hand tipped in the ball with less than a minute remaining over Kenneth Faried, I was reminded of a similar play he made for the Nuggets late last season against the Lakers. Kenyon likes his tip in's and Manimal should have done a better job blocking Kmart out. From that point on the Nuggets were victimized by a questionable foul call on Andre Miller (where it appeared Chris Paul ran Dre over, and then lost control of the ball and THEN a foul was called on Andre ... on second though that call was total BS) and before that A Kenyon Martin block on a Ty Lawson attempted layup.
Done and done. Paul made some big buckets at the end. Griffin made some showy "Thrunks". For some reason Randy Foye had a good game, and Mo Williams gave the Clippers solid minutes. They are a good team, but certainly not a great one. In fact, I'd wager to say that they are a flawed team that is incredibly undersized. Yet, they won tonight, so you have to hand it to them.
This was one of those games that showed you how close these two teams are. There is no way you come away from this game thinking "well, the Clippers are just the better team" like you would against the Thunder or the Spurs. This was one of those losses where the Nuggets clearly blew it on several aspects of the game which I will re-numerate below.
Danilo Gallinari - Gallo, dude. 0-7? Sit down with me. You comfortable? Do you want some coffee? Cappuccino? No. Ok, let me explain something to you. There's this bus I know of and it's owned by your coach George Karl, you may have heard of him. That being said, look under the bus, close to the undercarriage. You see those mangled jerseys? See the name's Shawn Kemp, Ray Allen, Carmelo Anthony, Nene Hilario, J.R. Smith and Gary Payton? Those are all jerseys of players Karl has thrown under that bus. Do YOU want to be another player chewed up by those tires? THEN START PLAYING BETTER! It's simple, you are neither the age of 80 or smaller than 6-3. You are in a bad position as a player under this coach. If you don't start being BOTH a playmaker and a scorer then there's nothing I can do to prevent you from being another bus casualty. Start NOW.
Perimeter defense - What the hell guys? How is it you can outscore a team with Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan by 30 (58-28) in the paint, and then give up 14 of 20 three point shots?! That is the very definition of asinine. This has been a problem all year, and quite frankly it's starting to get embarrassing. If you limit the Clippers to HALF that amount the Nuggets win comfortably. No excuses as far as that goes.
Letting the officiating get to you - It is human nature to let shoddy officiating get into your head. I get that. Apparently Zach Zarba (who you may remember from game 1 against OKC last season) had a man crush on Chris Paul. Whatever. The Nuggets played like they didn't want to breath on Paul at times (as Dahntay Jones showed, just get even more physical with Paul and he will fold like a deck chair) but then bucked up. Strange. Yes, the officiating was tilted toward the Clippers but you know what ... play the game. That's the only thing you can do. If they are calling the "if your hand brushes Griffin's jersey you will get a foul" game then you foul even harder. That's the solution to flopping teams. The Nuggets did that against Houston, why not the Clippers?
Overall, this was disappointing. Ty Lawson and Al Harrington had good games. Arron Afflalo and Kenneth Faried had OK games and Kosta Koufos played another solid game (seriously, Denver Stiffs readers, you should ALL give yourselves slaps on the wrist for slurping DeAndre Jordan the way you did. The guy is terrible. He's like JaVale McGee, but Jordan makes much more money). Speaking of JaVale. That was a lackluster stint by him as well. Need to buck up kiddo. No excuse for getting only one rebound. Got to learn to be in position. Hopefully over time you will get more fundamentally solid.
Nuggets play the Suns in Phoenix (a place where they struggle) and if they win that game their path to clinching for the playoffs becomes easier. Just take care of business and things will fall in to place.
And Gallo...PLAY BETTER. You're killing me here. I constantly have to fend off the vultures who want to trade you, and you make it very difficult when you play like absolute garbage.
On to the next.