Five things to take from Clippers’ 87-81 loss to the Nuggets

Clippers guard Chris Paul, left, reaches in for the ball against Denver Nuggets guard Emmanuel Mudiay on Wednesday night at Staples Center. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)

Chris Paul guards Emmanuel Mudiay of Denver during the Nuggets’ stunning 87-81 victory over the Clippers on Wednesday at Staples Center/AP photo by Alex Gallardo

 

– The Clippers shot 28.3 percent from 3-point range. That was not good. The worst part of it is that they took 46 3-point shots. That was more than half of the 85 shots taken overall by the Clippers, and a franchise high. Tough to win like that. Tough to score like that. Just think, the Clippers average 104.8 points on offense – seventh in the league. They scored 81 in this one. Bottom line is, losing to a team that is now just 23-35 on your home court is a bad loss for the Clippers (37-20), who are battling for position in the playoffs with just 25 regular-season games left. The Clippers are currently fourth in the West. They’d like to get to third so they wouldn’t have to face Golden State in the second round.

– Speaking of those long shots, Doc Rivers said he had the right guys shooting the 3s. They just didn’t fall, he said. J.J. Redick and Jamal Crawford shot 6 of 12 and 3 of 7, respectively. Redick is shooting a league-best 48.1 percent from beyond the arc, but Crawford is shooting just 32.5 percent. Chris Paul was 3 of 8 and he’s shooting a very respectable 38.2 percent from distance. Wesley Johnson, however, was 1 of 7 and he’s one of the last ones who should continue shooting the bombs on an off night as he is shooting only 33.6 percent from 3-point range. Pablo Prigioni was 0 of 4 and Jeff Green and Paul Pierce were both 0 of 3 and Luc Mbah a Moute coming in at 0 of 2.

Chris Paul got a bit more banged up in this one. He had a tight calf and he took an elbow to his left foreman. “I’ll be all right,” he said, afterward, like he always does. He scored 17 points, doled out 10 assists, made four steals and committed two turnovers in just more than 35 minutes.

– Nice game by Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried. He had 21 points on 10 of 15 shooting – there was a memorable monster dunk in there – in under 23 minutes. He had an assist and a steal, for good measure.

– The Clippers got within two points late. But they couldn’t get a stop. Trailing 80-78, Denver’s Emmanuel Mudiay missed a layup with 3:23 to play. The Nuggets got one of their 14 offensive rebounds, as Nikola Jokic put it back in for an 82-78 lead. The Clippers got back within two on a 6-footer by Green. But Gary Harris buried a 30-foot 3-pointer for an 85-80 lead with 1:58 to go, and the Clippers could not recover, getting no closer than four points at 85-81 on a free throw by DeAndre Jordan with 59.7 seconds left. That was the Clippers’ only point in the last 2:26, when the aforementioned shot by Green was made.

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