As the Clippers entered Tuesday night’s game against the Nuggets, they found themselves winners of 17 straight games. To put it in perspective, that’s as many wins as Denver had coming into the ballgame and the streak was tied for the third largest winning streak in the NBA over the past 10 years. If the Nuggets were to beat the Clippers, one would think it would be done by outscoring them.
But it was the Denver defense that kept the Clippers at bay in its 92-78 victory.
Seventy-eight points to a team that averages just over 101 per game and one that was outscoring their opponents by 15 points over their winning streak? It was without a doubt the Nuggets finest performance of the season.
Sure the Clippers shot just 44.8 percent from the charity stripe and the prohibitive early favorite for Sixth Man of the Year Jamal Crawford had just nine points on 2-11 shooting to help Denver out. But as a collective unit – without Ty Lawson running the point in the contest – the Nuggets looked good.
The ageless wonder Andre Miller stepped in and challenged Chris Paul on both ends of the court. In the contest, Miller had 12 assists and points to make him one of six Nuggets to hit double-digits.
Now you can call it an off night for the Clippers or maybe the Nuggets were just one. Whichever way you lean, the Nuggets have shown why they can hang around with the big boys. Come playoff time, the unselfishness that the Nuggets have shows the potential to knock off a high seed in the early rounds.
Along with Miller’s 12 points in the contest, Corey Brewer (10), Javale McGee (11), Andre Iguodala (12), Kenneth Faried (14) and Danilo Gallinari (17) showed the flexibility that Denver has on offense. Put those pieces together with Lawson as he comes back, the Nuggets are more than capable of pulling off an upset.
Also with their current 18-15 record, playing on the road in the first round of the playoffs won’t be a major hurdle for the Nuggets as they have played 22 of their first 33 games on the road so far.