On a special St. Patrick’s night worth of games in the NBA, the Los Angeles Clippers took their 11-game winning streak to Denver, where it was snapped by the Nuggets, losing 100-110. This was the third time on the season that these two teams have matched up and the Nuggets have taken the last two. However, the rest of the season for both of these times is likely to be tales of two completely different stories.
The Clippers are 48-21 on the season and, as mentioned, are just coming off an 11-game tear that included wins over Oklahoma City and Houston. During the current streak, as well as for much of the season, Blake Griffin has looked outstanding. There was no exception on Monday as he put in 26 points and grabbed 12 boards. What may be even more impressive was that he was perfect from the line, hitting 12-12 free throws. The only person to outscore Blake was Chris Paul, who dropped 29, and the only other person in double-digits was Danny Granger, who came off the bench with 11. An overall poor effort from the rest of the Clippers supporting cast certainly contributed to the loss.
The Nuggets have arguably been one of the more confusing teams in the league this year. They have had signs of brilliance where everything is kicking on all cylinders, much like it was on Monday. But with a 30-37 record, it certainly hasn’t been the type of overall campaign that Nuggets fans would like to see. The problem is, they are nine games out of the playoff race so it’s unlikely they’ll catch up. Then again, they also aren’t quite as bad as the Jazz, Lakers or a few teams in the East, so it’s unlikely that they’ll get a high draft pick either.
While some teams seem to be purposely tanking this season, the Nuggets are simply treading water, which is never a good place to be. Especially not a season after Masai Ujiri left the team and has taken the Raptors in the third spot in the East.
It’s incredibly difficult to play on back-to-back games, which is what the Clippers did on Sunday and Monday. After a 102-80 blowout of the Cavaliers at home, maybe there just wasn’t enough tank left in the gas for the team that leads the league with an average of 107.5 points per game.
Despite the loss, the Clippers still find themselves just 3 ½ games back of the Spurs for the top spot in the West. And if they can have another 11-game run like they just had, they may not be looking ahead at anyone here shortly.
The Clippers currently sit at 10/1 to win the NBA Championship with just over a month left in the regular season. As for the Nuggets, well they are at 9999/1, which makes them the last team in the NBA to have some sort of odds to win this year.
Next up for both teams are the Pistons. The Clips will play them on Wednesday, while the Nuggets are off until Saturday.