The much-anticipated matchup between the LA Clippers and the Denver Nuggets ended in a snooze fest. Denver’s 32-15 advantage in the first 12 minutes of the game eventually set the tone for the entire game.
By halftime, the lead had ballooned to 66-32, before it reached 43 points in different stretches of the third and fourth quarters. The game mercilessly ended at 122-91 as the Nuggets ran the Clippers off the court.
After the game, fans had a grand time trolling Ty Lue’s team:
“They got there ass kicked. Slippers is a bad old team like last year Lakers. And people keep saying wait till playoffs. 1st round exit if they don't get it together.”
Here's another one that's a little nastier:
“Rest in Peace to the glory days of the LA Clippers”
The LA Clippers just didn't look old. They also played like they had their minds somewhere else, particularly when their shots did not fall. LA was only 5-37 from deep, which is basically the story of the game.
Denver, on the other hand, made 14 of their 36 shots from beyond the arc. It was a telling difference that eventually took its toll on the Clippers.
It didn’t help that Paul George wasn’t 100% as he is dealing with a hamstring injury. The Clippers, though, could have shown more fight as they are touted to be the NBA’s deepest team. Tonight, their starters and their role players just didn’t have it in them.
The glory days of the Clippers during the Kawhi Leonard and Paul George era isn’t much to speak of. They’ve barely been available since joining forces in the summer of 2019 in LA. Leonard didn’t play last season and has seen action in just 16 games this campaign.
George, meanwhile, played 31 games last season but wasn’t available during the battle for the play-in spot against the New Orleans Pelicans. He’s only been available in 29 games so far and could miss more with a nagging hamstring injury.
The superstar duo had a 3-1 lead against the Denver Nuggets in the semifinals of the 2020 playoffs but still lost. They were also eliminated in six games by the Phoenix Suns the following season.
The Denver Nuggets deserve all the credit for the beatdown against the LA Clippers
As poorly as the LA Clippers played, they just didn't beat themselves. The Denver Nuggets simply and thoroughly outplayed them on both ends of the floor.
It started with Jamal Murray’s blistering first 12 minutes where he dropped 13 of his 18 points. The second quarter featured Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who hit two of his five three-pointers amid a crippling 19-0 blast.
KCP’s hustle and energy, especially during the second quarter, were in stark contrast to the LA Clippers’ lethargic display. Denver’s sizzling pace continued into the third quarter when they exploded for a game-high 36 points. By then, the outcome was all but decided.
The Denver Nuggets conceded the fourth quarter, emptying their bench, but still won by more than 30 points. More impressively for Mike Malone’s team, Nikola Jokic played only 24 minutes but still finished with 12 points, six rebounds and nine assists.
Jokic, a legitimate MVP candidate again this season, was in cruise control the entire time he was on the floor. And yet, his team blew away one of the NBA's deepest teams who is also one of the favorites to win the title.