LA Clippers throw up bricks, fall 87-81 to Nuggets

first_imgSpeaking of missed shots, the Clippers took a franchise-high 46 3-point shot attempts, more than half of their 85 overall shots. They made only 13 of those long-distance shots, for 28.3 percent; they shot 35.3 percent overall.Asked if he was cool with all the 3-point shots, Rivers answered in the affirmative.“Yeah, tonight, I was,” he said. “The right guys took them. If Steph Curry (of Golden State) has 30 3-pointers, should he take them? Or J.J. Redick or Jamal Crawford or Wes Johnson?“When you look at the guys that were taking the 3s, it was the right guys in the right spots. We just didn’t make any of them.”Crawford and Redick scored 20 points apiece for the Clippers. They were 3-of-7 and 6-of-12, respectively, from beyond the arc. Chris Paul scored 17 and was 3-of-8 from the distance.But Wes Johnson was 1-of-7, Pablo Prigioni 0-of-4 and Jeff Green and Paul Pierce were both 0-of-3.Paul, the team’s point guard, echoed his coach’s sentiments in this regard.“I’m OK with it because, like Doc said, a lot of them were wide open,” he said. “It was our 3-point shooters. It ain’t like Cole (Aldrich) and DJ (DeAndre Jordan) was hoisting 3s.”Johnson tried to explain.“We had a lot of good looks and tried to take what the defense gave us, but obviously we did shoot a lot,” he said. “I think it is one of those days when they just weren’t falling.”Paul admitted, “It was a tough loss.”Kenneth Faried led Denver (23-35) with 21 points and 11 rebounds. Gary Harris scored 17 and Danilo Gallinari had 16 points. The Nuggets outrebounded the Clippers, 57-47.Faried was stoked about the win that ended his team’s three-game losing streak.“We won, that’s all that matters,” he said. “I’m happy. We got the monkey off our back.”Gallinari liked his team’s defense.“That is why we won the game,” he said. “If we can play that defense every time, we give ourselves a chance to win.”Jordan led all players with 12 rebounds.The Clippers had 17 turnovers.Denver shot 37.8 percent, 25 percent (6-of-24) from 3-point range. LOS ANGELES >> Every once in a while a good basketball team is going to come up with a stinker of a game. That was the case Wednesday when the Clippers took on the Denver Nuggets, a team going nowhere fast.But it was the Nuggets who appeared headed for the playoffs as they withstood a fourth-quarter rally to defeat the Clipper,s 87-81, before a sellout of 19,060 at Staples Center.The Clippers (37-20) got off to a quick start and led, 11-2, but trailed 23-19 after one quarter. The game was tied at 39 with 2:41 to play before Denver scored the last 14 points to lead, 53-39, at halftime.The Clippers were within four points at 62-58 with 4:26 left in the third quarter, but trailed, 71-62, entering the fourth. Down 77-64 with 8:36 to play, the Clippers twice pulled within two points late, but could not get over the hump. When Denver’s Emmanuel Mudiay made two free throws with 25.5 seconds left for the game’s final points, the Clippers’ fate was all but sealed. Coach Doc Rivers and some of his players have taken note this season that, had they won one more game during the regular season in 2014-15, they would have had Game 7 of the Western Conference semifinals at home instead of at Houston, where the Clippers lost.That said, losing to Denver at home is not something that should happen to one of the better teams in the league, not a team that is trying to get to the conference finals for the first time in franchise history.Yet, after this unlikely loss, Rivers tried to downplay it.“I mean, listen, it’s a long season, honestly,” he said. “We played with the right intentions. We missed wide-open shot after wide-open shot. It’s going to happen. This wasn’t one of those games where I thought we just didn’t show up and didn’t play. I thought we missed a lot of shots, I thought we did get frustrated with the missed shots, especially in the first half.“I thought that’s what led to that last three minutes (of the second quarter). Guys were hanging their heads with the missed shots because they were layups, they were wide-open 3s. From a coaching standpoint, if my guys show up and get good shots and play the right way, I don’t have a lot of gripes.”center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more