After briefly falling into the negative, the Clippers are back in balance with a second victory in a row, this time against the Nuggets. Carried by five players to 11 points or more in this part, the Californians had to erase an apocalyptic first period to respond to the duo Nikola Jokic – Aaron Gordon opposite.
It didn’t take long to figure out that the attacks weren’t going to shine in this game. After a first quarter ended with a minimal score (16-18), Denver began to take over in the second half of the second quarter, taking advantage of the Clippers’ offensive difficulties.
After a series of four free throws, Aaron Gordon gave his team a 13-point lead at the break (28-41). The Clippers’ offensive mismanagement was still relevant in the following minutes. Better in their basketball, the visitors could thus afford a 25-point lead (34-59), five minutes after the break.
Then, as if by magic, the locals regained some semblance of skill to return to just 11 units before starting the last period (55-66). A quarter started with a 9-0 Clippers, while Nikola Jokic remained glued to the bench… His return and that of Aaron Gordon helped to rebalance the debates but the Clippers had regained their colors.
It is here that Reggie Jackson, author of 9 of his 13 points in this period, including a violent “poster” on the Serbian pivot, will wake up before the decisive award-winning shots from Amir Coffey and Nicolas Batum in the “money time”. The Nuggets still have a chance to win on a last possession where Mike Malone preferred not to take a time-out. But neither Nikola Jokic at 3-pointers, nor Aaron Gordon on a “tap” shot from mid-range have achieved the feat at the buzzer.
WHAT YOU MUST REMEMBER
– Clumsiness, clumsiness… You have to rub your eyes to believe it. With 7 minutes left in the third quarter, the Clippers only had… 34 points scored. The locals started their match on a terrible 1/14 from 3-pointers before correcting the situation afterwards. The Nuggets were awful throughout the evening behind the arc (4/33) but they compensated with more points scored in the racket and more free throws obtained. Overall, both teams shot just 40%.
– The furious return of the Clippers. All it took was a single award-winning basket from Marcus Morris, followed by another from Amir Coffey, to get the Californian machine going. Los Angeles revived in the second half of the third quarter by regaining address and keeping its defensive seriousness. And also taking advantage of a very bad passage from the Nuggets bench to erase this gap of 25 units.
✅ Aaron Gordon. Record points this season ruined for the former strong winger of the Magic. Nikola Jokic’s racket partner was extremely efficient while the majority of his teammates, except for his pivot, suffered in terms of skill.
✅ Nikola Jokic. The pivot ends just two assists from the triple-double after another quality match, despite five loss of balls, a sector in which his team suffered, and a winning shot, at 3-points and at buzzer, missed.
✅ Amir Coffey. Undoubtedly the most consistent element of the Clippers tonight. Active in all sectors, including interceptions (4), the back was the most mobilized player in this meeting. He thus confirmed his career high of 23 points established a few days earlier against the Hawks.
✅ Eric Bledsoe. 11 points, 9 assists and only 5/13 on shots for the muscular rear who nevertheless stood out for his role in his team’s comeback. The proof: when he was on the field, the Clippers scored… 28 points more than the Nuggets!
⛔ The Nuggets bench. Jeff Green certainly brought 12 points but with a low 5/16 on shots and -13 on the score when he was on the line. Facundo Campazzo did even worse with -19… The Nuggets bench suffered a lot and did not not able to properly breathe the duo of strong men Nikola Jokic – Aaron Gordon.
Clippers (21-21) : trip to the Pelicans, Thursday.
Nuggets (20-19) : reception of the Blazers, Thursday.