The Denver Nuggets were at Crypto.com Arena to face the LA Clippers without Nikola Jokic, Aaron Gordon and Jamal Murray. Jokic was ruled “questionable” heading into the game but was eventually sidelined due to lower back pain. Gordon didn’t play last against the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday due to a right heel strain and remained out. Murray hasn’t played in over a month as he continues to recover from a hamstring strain.
The Clippers were surprisingly the healthier team than the Nuggets, having their ‘Big Four’ of Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, James Harden and Russell Westbrook. It didn’t matter in the end though, as Denver rolled to another win against LA, their second in two meetings this season.
After the embarrassing loss, fans quickly trolled the Clippers on X, formerly Twitter:
“Clippers addicted to being the most humiliating team in the league”
Without three of the Denver Nuggets’ best players, the LA Clippers were heavily favored to win the game in front of their fans. It looked like what many expected would come true when the Clippers’ 32-19 advantage in the third quarter seemed to overwhelm the undermanned visitors.
The Nuggets’ championship pedigree, however, showed. Former Clippers players DeAndre Jordan and Reggie Jackson stepped up big time to lead Denver’s incredible upset of the star-studded Hollywood team.
Jordan played just his third game this season and his first as a starter to take Nikola Jokic’s spot. He played 34 minutes and finished with 21 points on 8-11 shooting. For good measure, he even hit 5-11 free throws. “DJ” added 13 rebounds, five assists, two steals and one block. The Nuggets bench could stop cheering him on.
Reggie Jackson once again played spoiler for a team he used to play for. Against the LA Clippers tonight, he had a game-high 35 points, 13 assists, five rebounds and two steals. Russell Westbrook and James Harden, the two former MVPs, combined for 24 points, 13 rebounds, seven assists and one steal. Jackson arguably outplayed both players.
The LA Clippers wilted in the fourth quarter
After the LA Clippers’ explosive third quarter where they outscored the Denver Nuggets 32-19, they entered the fourth period with an 88-77 lead. They couldn’t sustain their sizzling hot form as the Nuggets methodically chased them down.
DeAndre Jordan and Reggie Jackson were the veteran leaders that helped the Nuggets keep their composure. Everyone that Denver coach Mike Malone used scored key baskets, particularly in the last few minutes of the game.
Meanwhile, LA’s superstar players couldn’t come up with the goods. Russell Westbrook airballed a free throw with Denver leading 102-98. He received a hearty round of boos and whistles for that.
James Harden committed a turnover while Paul George also had an airball in the last seconds of the game. “The Beard” and “Playoff P” combined for two points in the final quarter.
For a team that’s looking to challenge for the championship, the LA Clippers have to be asking themselves how they let the game slip away. They couldn’t put away the Denver Nuggets that had no Nikola Jokic, Jamal Murray and Aaron Gordon. The Clippers will be treading dangerous waters if they can’t get out of this funk.