Rapid Reaction: Clippers 117, Nuggets 105
April, 15, 2014
By Arash Markazi | ESPNLosAngeles.com
LOS ANGELES -- Doc Rivers said he thought about resting his players for the Los Angeles Clippers' final home regular-season game. That was before he talked to them.
The players let their coach know they were plenty rested and wanted to play, and that's exactly what they did Tuesday as they defeated the Denver Nuggets 117-105 to notch their franchise-record 57th win of the season.
The Clippers will close out the regular season Wednesday in Portland with a shot at the second-best record in the league, and the No. 2 seed in the West still a possibility.
"I just don't want to lose our rhythm," Rivers said. "When the playoffs start, it's a whole new season, but you do want to have some kind of rhythm going into it."
How it happened: The Clippers looked as if they were going to run away with the game early. They went up by 18 in the first quarter, 19 in the second quarter and led by as many as 23 points in the third quarter before falling asleep and giving the Nuggets some hope. The Nuggets cut the Clippers' lead to five points in the fourth quarter before L.A. finally pulled away for the win.
What it means: The Clippers have won a franchise-record 57 games and are still alive for the No. 2 seed in the West. If the Oklahoma City Thunder lose to the Detroit Pistons and the Clippers beat the Portland Trail Blazers, the Clippers will finish with the second-best record in the league and No. 2 seed in the West.
Hits: Blake Griffin had 24 points and five rebounds, and Chris Paul had 21 points and 10 assists. J.J. Redick looked like his old self again, scoring 24 points and hitting 9 of 17 from the field. DeAndre Jordan also had 13 points and 16 rebounds.
Misses: You never want a 23-point lead to dwindle to five in a matter of minutes when you're looking to rest your starters. In the bigger picture, the Clippers would love Jamal Crawford and Darren Collison to return to their old form. Both players combined to go 0-for-6 from beyond the arc and hit 8 of 19 from the field.
Stat of the game: The Clippers won the game despite being out outrebounded (43-41) by the Nuggets. L.A. did edge Denver in points in the paint (50-42) and second-chance points (20-9).
Up next: The Clippers play their regular-season finale on the road against the Portland Trail Blazers. The teams have split their two games this season, with each winning at home. The Clippers last played in Portland the day after Christmas, falling to the Blazers 116-112 in overtime.