|Game 45: 2014-15 NBA Season|
|January 26, 2015|
|Staples Center - Los Angeles, CA
|8:30 PM MT|
|Ty Lawson||PG||Chris Paul|
|Arron Afflalo||SG||J.J. Redick|
|Wilson Chandler||SF||Matt Barnes|
|Kenneth Faried||PF||Blake Griffin|
|Jusuf Nurkic||C||DeAndre Jordan|
|You're here!||Blogs||Clips Nation|
JaVale McGee - Questionable
|Nuggets fans hope that this happens again||Etc...||Jordan will play in his 285th consecutive game, the longest active streak in the NBA|
The last time the Clippers faced the Nuggets, the Nuggets held an 18-point lead in the second quarter, only to allow the Clippers regain the lead on a 24-2 run where they hit nine shots in a row. The 18-point lead was led by the recently traded Nate Robinson cam off the bench in the second quarter to score 11 consecutive points, hitting three 3-pointers.
Things even got chippy mid-way through the fourth quarter. Kenneth Faried fouled DeAndre Jordan with about eight minutes remaining. Doc Rivers, DeAndre Jordan and Hedo Turkoglu all got technicals and Faried's foul was then upgraded to a flagrant-1 after a review.
This game has the feeling of something entirely different. For one Robinson is gone, replaced by the rusty Randy Foye and surprisingly effective Jameer Nelson (since joining the Nuggets, in 25.0 minutes he's averaging 14.0 points, 5.5 assists, 47.9% FG, and 40.6% 3PT). Secondly, Timofey Mozgov (who had 13 points, 8 rebounds in that contest) is gone, traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers; replaced by the better, but struggling Nurkic.
More similarities? The Nuggets were coming off a 1-7 stretch, where the Clippers win got them back on track. In the present the Nuggets may be in the midst of their worst stretch this season, following possible the best stretch of basketball we've seen this season. They're on a 0-6 streak, that was preceded by comfortable wins against Minnesota and Sacramento, at home against Orlando and blowing out Memphis by 29. The six losses have been average, sans the manhandling by Golden State.
What does this game bring? The Nuggets after a year of injuries and consistency are finally getting bodies back in the rotation. Even if it is slow coming. Gallo has finally started playing minutes again, Foye has been back for a few games, and even JaVale McGee is showing signs of returning sooner than later. Not that it matters much.
This game smells like a classic trap game, just as it was last time. The Clippers coming off two back-to-back blowouts (in particularly the win against the Suns), going into their annual Grammy trip on the road.
That Suns game was relatively close until a few threes landed and the Hack-a-Jordan strategy backfired. The Nuggets reality is that there will be a few bright spots in this game, especially if the 7th rated fastbreak scoring team can get out on the break. Even if this may seem to play into the Clippers hands due to the "Lob City" moniker, the reality is that the Clippers are 13th in pace (compared to Denver, 4th).
The Nuggets may be on the outside looking in regarding the playoffs, but it doesn't seem they are ready to allow the young guys more floor time at the expense of wins. I expect the Nuggets to come out far more competitive than it has been lately. The Clippers should be looking ahead, as they have a monstrous stretch that includes games against NOP, SA, CLE, TOR, OKC, and DAL, all on the road.
Expect a close affair, but not as close as last time, with the Nuggets losing 114-106.