In a thrilling encounter between the Denver Nuggets and the Los Angeles Clippers at the STAPLES Center, the Clippers defeated Denver by a final score of 102-98, thanks to Jamal Crawford’s sparkling fourth quarter.
The first quarter of tonight’s matchup between the Nuggets and the Clippers was extremely sloppy at both ends of the court. Wilson Chandler, however, made the first ten points for the visiting team after hitting two three’s to start, followed up by a jumper from six feet out. Griffin looked sluggish in the opening quarter, considering last night’s track meet, missing all six shots in the first twelve minutes of the game. During this same stretch, the Nuggets would go on a 10-0 run, all the way to 26-13 after Arron Afflalo made a good drive to the rim.
Doc Rivers must have said something to his squad during the interval, as the Clippers outscored Denver by a score of 30-16, ending the half on a remarkable 22-6 run. The Nuggets looked to have run out of gas that quarter, as they could not make a basket to save their lives, finishing the quarter with a mere 16 points. To end the half, Chris Paul stormed down the court, got to the key, and he flipped the ball to a wide open Blake Griffin who slammed it down easily as time expired.
The roles were reversed coming out of the halftime interval, with the Nuggets doing the damage, putting up thirty of their own. This gave them a commanding lead heading into the final quarter, but then things turned quickly as Jamal Crawford absolutely went off, as the Clippers pulled away late, getting their 31st victory of the season.
Blake Griffin did not have a great offensive night, despite finishing the game with 14 points for the Clippers, but he found other ways to contribute. He was one rebound away from a triple-double, as he also dished out ten assists on the night.
Jamal Crawford’s performance in the fourth quarter was simply amazing. There are really no other words to describe what he did to the Denver Nuggets. The Nuggets did pretty well themselves that quarter, finishing with 21 points, which is also the amount that Crawford finished with. It wasn’t just the sheer amount of points he put up; it was also the hustle. There was a play late in the fourth quarter where Crawford rushed down the court to save the ball from going out and flipped it backwards, finding Matt Barnes underneath the rim for an easy slam that really ignited the crowd and deflated the Nuggets.
Ty Lawson also played a good fourth quarter, but it just wasn’t enough for the Denver Nuggets in their devastating loss. Lawson finished the night going 7 of 12 from the field and ended up leading his squad in points, with 19 big ones. He also distributed the ball well, as he managed to get eleven assists, which led both teams, and was a plus-five throughout the game as well. After starting hot out of the gate, Wilson Chandler ended the night shooting just 7 of 18 and finishing with 18 points.
The Los Angeles Clippers will now be going on their Grammy road trip and to start things off, they will be playing the Utah Jazz on Wednesday at the Energy Solutions Arena. Denver is going to have to regroup quickly after their loss because they will be playing the New Orleans Pelicans on the same night in Louisiana.