Years ago no one cared much about the Clippers, whether it be fans or other NBA teams and players. But the Clippers (48-21) are serious contenders these days, meaning they are under much more scrutiny. They have become a team others like to beat.
Such was the case Monday when the Clippers ventured to Denver to try and extend an 11-game winning streak. But just like last season, when the host Nuggets snapped the Clippers’ 17-game winning streak, they did it again with a 110-100 victory at Pepsi Center.
Ty Lawson, the Nuggets’ point guard, had an interesting thought for an ESPN.com reporter after the game.
“Players like to get up for this team,” said Lawson, who scored 19 points. “The energy in the building gets us going.”
According to ESPN.com, it was the fourth time in NBA history a team has halted the same opponent’s double-digit winning streak in back-to-back campaigns. The most recent before Monday was the Spurs ending 11-game Suns winning streaks in the 2004-05 and 2005-06 seasons.
Clippers forward Blake Griffin had just been named Western Conference Player of the Week on Monday when he took the floor later that night at Denver. The quest: a 12th consecutive victory.
Griffin scored 26 points, pulled down 12 rebounds and doled out four assists. But he made just 7 of 25 shots from the field, and he seemed to want to take the blame for the defeat.
“Too many missed shots, too many small errors here and there,” Griffin said on the Clippers’ website. “Everybody played hard, but I just put us in a bad position.”
It was the second leg of back-to-back games, but center DeAndre Jordan did not want to use that as an alibi.
“Back-to-backs are always tough, especially because we’ve got guys down,” he said, referring to his team’s injuries. “But that’s no excuse. Every team has back-to-backs and it’s tough. You’ve just got to find a way to win. That’s all.”
The Clippers have been given a couple of days off by coach Doc Rivers and won’t practice again until Thursday. They play host to the Detroit Pistons on Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
By now Clippers fans might rather refer to them as the “Dastardly” Denver Nuggets.
The Nuggets on Monday defeated the visiting Clippers 110-100 to snap an 11-game Clippers winning streak. On New Years Day 2013, the Nuggets halted the Clippers’ 17-game winning streak with a 92-78 victory.
This time it was a 14-2 run down the stretch that fueled Denver to victory. Chris Paul led the Clippers (48-21) with 29 points, Blake Griffin had 26 points and 12 rebounds.
Ty Lawson led the Nuggets (30-37) with 19 points.
Clippers guard Chris Paul rolled his sore left ankle in the second quarter at Denver on Monday night, but he stayed in the game and has a game-high 20 points at halftime.
The host Nuggets lead 56-53 at the break as the Clippers try to win their 12th game in succession.
The game is being televised by ESPN and Prime Ticket.
Clippers forward Blake Griffin has been named Western Conference Player of the Week, the NBA announced Monday.
In four games played between March 10 and March 16, Griffin averaged 27 points, 9.3 rebounds and 4.8 assists in victories over Phoenix, Golden State, Utah and Cleveland.
Griffin is averaging 24.3 points, 9.7 rebounds and 3.7 assists on the season. He is one of just two Clippers who have played in all 68 games – center DeAndre Jordan is the other.
Griffin and the Clippers (48-20) will put their 11-game winning streak on the line tonight when they play at Denver (29-37) at 7:30 (on Prime Ticket).
The Clippers have not tasted defeat since dropping a 102-96 decision
Feb. 21 at Memphis.