What went wrong in LA?

You don’t have to watch too much game film to see what went wrong in last night’s lost to the Los Angeles Clippers.

Sure the Denver Nuggets shot a dismal .375 from the field, but even when you struggle from the field you should find a way to win the game. And while four Nuggets players shot over 40 percent, what killed the team was effort.

The young Clippers not only out hustled the veteran Nuggets, they outsmarted them. Los Angeles grabbed 19 offensive rebounds, DeAndre Jordan alone had nine (Nuggets as a team had 10) and they hit .42 percent of their 3-pointers. Every time Denver cut into the deficit and shutdown LA, the Clippers answered.

THIRD QUARTER

10:03: Nuggets are down 51-48, Baron Davis misses a jumper in the lane and with Kenyon Martin over helping, Blake Griffin cut to the basket to score the putback. Nuggets tried to answer with an 18-foot jumper by Martin, but his shot missed which led to Ryan Gomes hitting a trey on the next possession.

3:17: Chauncey Billups hit a pair of free throws to cut the lead to 74-71, but Eric Bledsoe nailed a 3-pointer and then scored a basket (which he was fouled on, but missed the FT) to push the lead back up to eight.

FOURTH QUARTER

9:07: Carmelo Anthony had a putback dunk that cut the Clippers deficit to 84-80, but Jordan tipped in Eric Gordon’s missed basket and then rebounded Nene’s missed layup which led to a trey by Gordon which yet again pushed the lead up to nine.

In the final quarter alone, the Clippers hit four treys and grabbed eight offensive rebounds.

COULD MELO GO TO THE CLIPPERS: While the Clips have struggled in the win-loss column this season they are a very exciting young team, as they showed last night to the Nuggets and in front Carmelo Anthony’s wife LaLa (who happens to live in Los Angeles). A duo of Griffin and Anthony could be arguable the best duo in the League, not to mention adding in Gordon would make it a top, young trio.

Los Angeles also has the biggest trading chip that would interest the Nuggets, the rights to Minnesota’s pick (which is top 10 protected in 2011 and unprotected in 2012).

An offer of rookie Al Farouq Aminu, Chris Kaman and a pair of picks (Minnesota as one) for Anthony would be enticing. Another interested proposition would be Gordon, Chris Kaman, Aminu and a pick for Anthony and Arron Afflalo. Afflalo is a former UCLA star and could thrive in those surroundings. But it is unlikely the Clippers will give up Gordon.

The only downfall is the Clippers owner Donald Sterling, who has had numerous run-ins with Clippers players.

Again enticing for everybody around, but would Melo really want to play for Sterling?

NOTES: Gary Forbes’ contract is fully guaranteed for the season, which is a no-brainer the way the non-traditional rookie is playing. Forbes is averaging 5.7 points and is shooting .476 from the field.

Martin won’t play tonight against the Sacramento Kings, which means Shelden Williams, who didn’t play last night, will slide into the starting slot.

Also, Ken Berger is reporting that the Nuggets, Nets are talking again about a Melo trade. But the question remains were they ever not talking? And will Anthony really sign the extension with the Nets?

Tags: Al-Farouq Aminu Arron Afflalo Baron Davis Blake Griffin Carmelo Anthony Chauncey Billups Chris Kaman DeAndre Jordan Denver Nuggets Eric Bledsoe Eric Gordon Gary Forbes Ken Berger Kenyon Martin Los Angeles Clippers Nene Ryan Gomes Shelden Williams

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