The new-look Nuggets with Aaron Gordon are shaping into a legitimate contender. Fresh off a blowout win at home against the Hawks, the Nuggets brought more credibility to them with a statement 101-94 win in Los Angeles against the Clippers.
"It wasn't pretty," Nuggets head coach Michael Malone said postgame. "Felt like a playoff game to be honest."
Their starters combined for 90 of the 101 points with the trio of Jamal Murray, Will Barton and Michael Porter Jr. combining for 62 on 23-of-43 shooting from the field.
Strong night from each @nuggets starter as they win their 4th in a row!- NBA (@NBA) April 2, 2021
🗻 @BeMore27: 23 PTS, 8 REB
🗻 MPJ: 20 PTS (7-11 FGM), 2 BLK
🗻 @WillTheThrillB5: 19 PTS
🗻 Jokic: 14 PTS, 7 REB, 7 AST
🗻 @Double0AG: 14 PTS, 6 AST, 3 STL, 2 BLK pic.twitter.com/YKFlNrVQae
On the other hand, for the Clippers, Kawhi Leonard was the biggest contributor with 24 points, 12 rebounds, four assists, two steals, and a block.
The win is Denver's 13th in their last 16, meanwhile, the Clippers lose a second straight after winning six consecutive.
West Standings logjam
The result of this game creates a big logjam in the West for the seeds between 3-7. Here's a deeper look at that.
|Seed||Teams||W-L||Remaining Strength of Schedule|
|3||LA Clippers||32-18||.475 (26th toughest)|
|4||Los Angeles Lakers||30-18||.525 (5th toughest)|
|5||Denver Nuggets||30-18||.479 (21st toughest)|
|6||Portland Trail Blazers||29-18||.541 (3rd-toughest)|
After losing to the Clippers on Christmas Day, the Nuggets even the season series with one game to go on May. 1 (ET). Even against the Lakers, the Nuggets are tied 1-1 in the season series with one to go on May. 3 (ET). Against the Trail Blazers, Denver has won the only game so far with a couple more to go.
For the Clippers, they hold a 1-0 lead in the season series against the Lakers and Trail Blazers with two more to go.
This 3-7 logjam isn't just about homecourt but also about matchups in the playoffs.
While Murray, Porter Jr. and Barton handled the scoring load, MVP candidate Nikola Jokic and new acquisition Aaron Gordon stuffed the stat sheet.
Both players were also finding each other on cuts and passes to the rim, combining for 13 of the team's 28 assists.
Nikola just might have a new favorite passing target pic.twitter.com/pIPaF6xlfX- Denver Nuggets (@nuggets) April 2, 2021
AG had to return the favor! pic.twitter.com/XMIGirjArO- Denver Nuggets (@nuggets) April 2, 2021
"I tell him all the time he was the difference maker, man," Barton said of Gordon postgame. "I think he puts us over the hump."
Gordon wasn't just doing it offensively, but he showed off his game on the other end of the floor as well, playing a huge role in limiting Kawhi Leonard to 10-of-22 from the field.
AG said N🚫PE pic.twitter.com/GGLBIbj9zY- Denver Nuggets (@nuggets) April 2, 2021
Jokic was a game-high +13 while Gordon was not far behind with a +12 in his game-high 39 minutes of action.
Mann stepping up but consistency eludes Clippers
The Clippers have gone from winning six straight to losing back-to-back. Since February, prior to which they were 16-5, they have failed to gain and maintain momentum having won 16 of 29 games.
However, one player has been stepping up during their recent run of games - second-year guard Terance Mann. Likely to fill-in and play the scoring role off the bench that Lou Williams used to, Mann has been putting up numbers and his veteran Williams gave that a shoutout.
My young gun 🤞🏾 https://t.co/EnfMYSdF7u- Lou Williams (@TeamLou23) April 2, 2021
The Clippers would mostly win their next game against a shorthanded Lakers squad but after that, they host the Phoenix Suns and healthy-once-again Portland Trail Blazers.
Will a string of losses follow this one or can the LA franchise get back on track and treat this as a bump in the road? Only time will tell.
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