With the center court celebration that ensued you would’ve thought the Denver Nuggets were headed to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen. After Randy Foye hit a last-second poorly contested off-balance three-pointer on Monday night in the Pepsi Center, the Nuggets received a confidence boost and for the Los Angeles Clippers, another wake-up call as the Nuggets won 116-115. Foye would finish the game with 14 points on 6-for-18 shooting.
“I switched out, I contested, I didn’t want to get too close. Obviously I didn’t want to foul a guy shooting a 30-footer. It’s on me. I’ve got to be better in that situation, I guess,” is what Blake Griffin had to say in response to Foye’s first career game-winning shot. Both Clippers big men had solid games, with Griffin finishing with 36 points and 11 rebounds, and DeAndre Jordan closing the night with 19 points and 12 rebounds.
The Clippers hadn’t won in the Mile High City for two years, and although Ty Lawson missed the last four games with a shoulder injury, his 17 points, as well as Kenneth Faried’s career-high 28 points and 11 rebounds and J.J. Hickson’s 17 points and 12 rebounds helped to keep the Clips shut out. Clippers guard Jamal Crawford gave a good contribution off the bench with 19 points, but after being out-rebounded on the night 52-to-37, with Denver collecting 17 offensive rebounds, the Clippers couldn’t escape their grasp. The lack of a solid forward coming off the bench reared its ugly face and gave a losing consequence again for the Clippers.
With the Clippers down by three points in the final seconds of the fourth quarter and coming out of timeout, a play for an open J.J. Redick jump shot with Griffin as the second option was snuffed, and on the fly, Redick threw a slightly fumbled pass to Matt Barnes who hit a 30-foot three pointer to put the Clippers up by one point. Moments later, Foye’s lucky three would thwart the Clippers approach toward third place in the Western Conference; with the loss they remain in fourth.
Doc Rivers commented on the Clippers’ performance and the final moments of the game with, “That’s where we lost the game. We always focus on the final shot, but we gave up eight points in the first half off of free throws where they missed a shot, got it back and scored. We’ve got to rebound better as a group.”
Up next for the Clippers is a home game against the Miami Heat who have gone 6-5 in their last eleven games. The Clippers last faced the Heat on Nov 7th, losing the road game 97 to 102.