Rapid Reaction: Nuggets 116, Clippers 115
February, 3, 2014
By Arash Markazi | ESPNLosAngeles.com
Randy Foye was on the Los Angeles Clippers when the expectations for the team suddenly rose two years ago when they traded for Chris Paul.
He started alongside Paul after Chauncey Billups was lost for the season as the Clippers made it to the second round of the playoffs.
Back then, the Clippers made it a point to remember teams that celebrated as if they won a championship after beating them. It was a new feeling for a new group that wasn’t always sure how to deal with expectations and disappointments.
On Monday, it was Foye who hit a last-second, desperation 3-pointer against his former team to help the Denver Nuggets beat the Clippers 116-115 before celebrating as if they had won a title.
Foye collapsed on the ground and teammates piled on as the Pepsi Center erupted and the dejected Clippers walked toward their locker room. The Clippers no longer make it a point to remember teams that celebrate after beating them. The celebrations are commonplace now, but the Clippers try to make sure the losses aren’t.
How it happened: The Clippers thought they had the game won after Matt Barnes hit a 3-pointer to give them a 115-113 lead with 6 seconds left. The truth is that Denver probably deserved this game even before Foye’s last-second winner. The Nuggets dominated the Clippers in rebounding, 52-37, and second-chance points, 24-8.
What it means: It’s a tough loss in Denver, but this would constitute just the Clippers' second bad loss since Paul has been sidelined, along with a defeat at Charlotte. The other three losses -- at San Antonio, Indiana and Golden State, all on the second nights of back-to-back sets -- could have been penciled in even at full strength before the season. The Clippers, however, are still 13-5 without Paul -- and might be without him for only one more game, as he is expected to return this week.
Hits: Blake Griffin had 36 points and 11 rebounds while DeAndre Jordan had 19 points and 12 rebounds. Almost as impressively for Jordan, he hit five of his six free throws and has made 12 of his past 13 in the fourth quarter.
Misses: Darren Collison and J.J. Redick struggled with their shots for most of the game, combining to go 8-of-23 on the night and 2-of-6 from beyond the arc.
Stat of the game: The Clippers lost this game largely because of the disparities in rebounding and second-chance points. They might need to add another big man if they’re going to contend this season -- or they have find a way to make up for their rebounding deficiencies with who they have.
Up next: The Clippers return home to play the Miami Heat on Wednesday and don’t have another road game until Feb. 21. The Clippers lost their first meeting of the season against the Heat 102-97, and victory Wednesday night would give them a much-needed win against one of the top five teams in the league.