The Nuggets struggled from beyond the arch all game, but with just over two minutes left in the fourth Randy Foye hit a three putting Denver up 107-100. The crowd exploded and the worn out Clippers finally succumbed to the scrappy Nuggets in the thin mountain air.
The Denver Nuggets finished the game on a 14-2 run and put an end to the Los Angeles Clippers' 11 game win streak with a 110-100 victory. It was a balanced effort from Denver, six players scored in double figures. No one contributed more toward the cause than Denver's low post players J.J. Hickson (21 points 11 rebounds) and Kenneth Faried (18 points 16 rebounds). Both players not only contributed on the offensive end, but were physical with Blake Griffin all night. Griffin finished the game 7-25 from the field.
The Clippers were on the second game of a back to back after defeating the Cavaliers at home. They turned the ball over often early in the game and shot only 39.1% from the field. They didn't have the legs to shoot from deep either, going 5-21 from long range. Chris Paul and Blake Griffin combined for 55 points, but no one else factored into the game for LA.
Griffin's punk play was on full display this evening. He locked arms with Faried in the second quarter tossing him to the ground and in the second half shoved Hickson to the ground after JJ grabbed a defensive board. Faried commented at halftime that he wanted to play even more physical but the referees were calling too tight of a game. Regardless, Manimal and Hickson were in Griffin's head. Blake was a perfect 12-12 from the free throw line, but the refs couldn't call every foul and the Nuggets reaped the benefits.
Ty Lawson had a strong fourth quarter and was the catalyst for the final rally that put LA away. He benefited from some generous calls, but he proved it is easier to secure an "and 1" opportunity when you aren't actually touched in the act of shooting. He faked rookie Reggie Bullock into a three point play and he made an improbable five point play thanks to Chris Paul's overreaction to a foul while Lawson knocked down a three pointer, hit a technical shot, then made his original free throw. Not all the calls went Denver's way, but they out hustled LA on the glass and made their own luck.
The Faried/Griffin matchup did not disappoint. The impressive offensive contribution and defensive effort by JJ Hickson was what tipped the game in the home team's favor. It was neck and neck all the way through, but Denver had more energy. On the night celebrating the playoff run of the 1993-94 Denver Nuggets, the boys in navy and wine toppled another highly ranked Western Conference opponent.