L.A. Clippers at Denver Nuggets New Year’s Day game thread

The Los Angeles Clippers are currently the NBA’s hottest team, and they roll into the Pepsi Center today riding the momentum of a 17-game winning streak. The Nuggets be will attempt to get 2013 off on the right foot with a big win that marks the beginning of their home-friendly January schedule which features only three games on the road.

Benjamin Hochman of the Denver Post reports that Ty Lawson will miss tonight’s game:

Lawson is day-to-day with a strain in his left Achilles tendon and won’t play against Chris Paul and the Clippers. Andre Miller will likely start for Denver and Evan Fournier could get some time at backup point guard.

Lawson said from the locker room that he will get an MRI on Wednesday. He has experienced tightness in his foot for the past week, and it tightens up when he jumps.

Andre Miller defending Chris Paul all night is a somewhat frightening concept. It would be nice to see George Karl start Andre Iguodala on CP3 to see if he could reproduce some of the suffocating D that Dahntay Jones displayed in the 2009 playoffs.

Unfortunately, it appears that none of our Roundball Mining Company contributors will be available to do the Rapid Reaction grades for this game, so please use this thread to post your comments.

Happy New Year!

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  • googergieger

    Please stop playing Kofous big minutes Karl. He is so effin useless when he goes up against competent centers. Already about three offensive rebounds by Jordan and he is just out muscling Kofous every chance he gets. Also to start the game Griffin is stiff arming Faried and Faried gets the foul called on him?

    • Ackdog

      I think Karl uses KK to chew up minutes only and anything else is a bonus. I really think they are trying to bring McGee along slowly. At least thta’s my theory

  • googergieger

    Can someone explain any Karl line up to me?

    • Charles Murray

      I’ll try to explain Karl’s lineup. They just beat the best team in the NBA holding them t0 38% shooting with Miller outplaying the best guard in front of a national audience. That, and beating SA, LA, Memphis. Sure they lost a few away, but they can be awesome w/Karl’s lineup. Does that help?

      • http://yahoo mile high

        Love your reply. Thumb’s up!

      • googergieger

        They also missed a ton of wide open three’s, and we’ve also lost more games than any other team in the league. I.E. we honestly haven’t been beaten by the better teams this year all that many times, we’ve just lost games due to our mistakes. Due to poor execution. Etc…

      • googergieger

        Also that literally didn’t explain anything.

        • Charliemyboy

          Meaning, by facts, that the line up works. The better team and coach won for the night. All stats inclusive puts the Nuggets at 4, after beating all but Mia and Okl.

          • googergieger

            What line up? Explain why Karl loves the two guard line up of Miller and Ty. Explain why he loves playing Faried/Gallo at center, despite the point of playing small is spreading the floor? And as far as our bigs go Mozgov and McGee have more range than Kofous and Faried. Not talking about game plans or how Iguodala is neutralized if your idea of defense is switch everything. Talking about line ups. Talking about how sometimes it literally looks like he tosses names in a hat.

  • googergieger

    Hope Gallo doesn’t have one of those games…

  • Andrew K

    Need those defensive rebounds….

  • Andrew K

    I guess we are only scoring from the paint tonight…

  • googergieger

    Please put McGee back in. Kofous is so effin useless…

  • googergieger

    I swear nobody loses more games than us. Still a long game left, but most teams hardly ever seem to beat us, and more often than not we just seem to lose. Give games away. We should have gone into the half with about a fifteen point lead but instead we are going in with a five point lead.

  • googergieger

    Figures the one night Kofous is having a horrible game literally no one could argue against the grades don’t go up.

  • googergieger

    JAVALE MCGEE!

  • mitchell

    id say fournier earned some more minutes tonight. a couple rookie mistakes, but played aggressively and hit some shots. that should take minutes away from two-pg lineups

    • Charles Murray

      He has saavy but needs to put on 20 pounds of muscle… He gets pushed around like a wet rag.

  • Ban Johnson

    The Clippers missed a ton of open 3s tonight. Pretty lucky for the Nuggets, but we’ll take it, especially after the Portland and Memphis games.

    Nobody on the Nuggets was obviously outstanding tonight, but nobody was bad either. I thought McGee was playing a really heady game. Which earned him a grand total of 17 minutes of playing time. Karl definitely uses playing time as a stick against McGee, but almost never seems to use it as a carrot.

    This Nuggets team without Lawson would be a .500 team over a full season, at best. Hopefully he’s back soon. One thing you can say for Miller, though — he doesn’t waste too many possessions on offense. He knows what he’s doing.

    • Ernie

      Yes, the defense on Clipper open threes and free throws was the difference. Nice to be on the positive end of a bad shooting night.

      Also putting AI on Paul was a nice coaching move. Paul just looked like he didn’t want to challenge AI much. It left Miller on the 2 guard, but as said before those guys just couldn’t hit open 3’s tonight.

    • Charles Murray

      I haven’t said this before, but I think it is time to start McGee. It’s all psychological. If given that responsibility, he would focus. It would also make KK even play harder. Those two together are pretty tough.

      • Ernie

        McGee runs out of gas in Denver because of his asthma. He just can’t play 30+ minutes in Denver. But perhaps he should start on the road where it is less of an issue for him.

        • Ban Johnson

          If you’re right about his asthma in Denver, and he can only play short spurts, than why not start him? He’s almost doomed to short minutes if you don’t bring him until there’s 4:00 minutes left in the first and third quarters.

          • Ernie

            I think the feeling is he get in late in the 1Q, gets a break at the quarter and plays the first part of 2Q. If he were to start then I’m not sure if he would play more minutes since he just can’t go that long without a break and would have to be taken out after 5 minutes anyway. This way he at least gets some rhythmn by playing 9-10 minutes straight of game time.

            I’m not privvy to anything, just my thinking.

  • googergieger

    Great win for the team! Surprised we won, actually. But we played a great game. A lot of mistakes but we forced them to make some too and we corrected our mistakes as well. Everyone except KK had a great game tonight! Hopefully McGee will start getting some more minutes. I’ve said it before but he is a surprisingly good passer.

    Also hope this shows Karl, Miller and Ty together won’t work. Either one or the other.

    • Ackdog

      I think Karl should give McGee more minutes this month. Without all the travel they can work out the mistakes he makes during th games. That guy should be plating 27- 32 minutes per game.

      Also Gallo takes 15 shots an drives to the rim a couple of times and whammo 17 points. Not a great night but he doesn’t have to be great with this team, it just keeps the D honest. C Brew with 15 shots as well not hitting them but keeping the D honest.

      Props to old man Miller. we can’t expect him to be as athletic as Ty but the dude really knows how to run a team. His D is pretty average though.

  • miguel

    both andre’s deserved a lot of credit for this win. iggy for a decent all round game and his great defends on paul and miller just for running the show getting everybody good looks. also thing mogov played well in his limited time on the court.

    • Ackdog

      AI is not the defender I thought he was. He doesn’t box out or roate very well! He plays great 1 on 1 but he struggles with the whole team D concept

      • miguel

        no he doesnt, it just looks that way because this team is not great defensive team.

        • Ackdog

          Watch a bit closer Miguel. In this game alone he missed his rotation three times off the top of my head! Great 1 on 1 YES. Great team defender NO. There were times last year when the Nuggets would switch on everybody I just think there are two or three guys out there that really struggle with AI at the top of the list

          • googergieger

            The problem is in Phili, Collins had defensive schemes and everyone had places to be. In Denver it is often down to switch everything and it is easy for players to get lost. Especially when you have guys like Miller who leave their man to get the defensive rebound for the outlet pass.

            • http://yahoo.com prospector

              Well said!!!

      • John

        I agree with Miguel… I think the majority of his miscues were the result of the whole team floundering the rotations… though I did see him not close out a few times. What was much more prevalent was Andre Miller just giving up and not rotating.

        • Ackdog

          Miller is two of the three that I’m talking about. He gambles a lot which only exposes his teammates

  • pender30

    The Russian Hammer! Love Hastings and Marlowe. Fournier should’ve decked Barnes as time was running out. I loved watching Andre Miller tonight. Andre makes some mistakes, but he always makes them while he’s trying to be aggressive. Great dunk by Iggy at about the 3:00 minute mark of the 4th. It may sound crazy but I think in some respects AI and McGee are similar players – limitless athletic ability but playing out of control at times. I’m sick of seeing passes go off Koufos’ hands. Griffin is an entitled bitch and I was glad to see him lose. Undefeated in 2013!

    • Ackdog

      Griffin is a bully and besides his dunks isn’t worhty of 2nd team all NBA. Surely there are better power forwards out there. I can think of two or three in the Western conference. Love, Randolph….. Anybody else???

      • googergieger

        Love, Randolph, Lee, Aldridge, Duncan, Ibaka, Gasol, etc…

        • John

          Agreed, but not necessarily in that order…I would go Love, Duncan, Lee, Aldridge, Griffin, Ibaka, Gasol…at least so far this year.. in order of “goodness” lol

          • googergieger

            It wasn’t really in any order. If we are going by order Z-Bo has to be number one and Duncan has to be 1B. Griffin benefits from the whistle and his team mates. He has talent no doubt about it, and is good, but my god is he one manufactured “star”.

            • John

              Totally forgot about Z-bo… but I wasn’t going by stats really, just level of play. Either way, Griffin is not a TOP PF. He is 3-6 somewhere.

              It was nice to see some fouls called against Griffin tonight too. Although he couldn’t figure out why it was happening… thought he was gonna cry there for a minute.

              And although statistically KK’s night was crap… I think he did a really nice job of setting the tone physically. It definitely is a luxury to have three 7 footers… (even if they are all average) …nothing like not letting Blake or DeAndre actually get a shot up, just throwing 18 fouls at them, and making them earn their points at the stripe…

              • googergieger

                I honestly believe if McGee would get his minutes with our best players to develop some chemistry with them, at least twenty five to thirty minutes a game. He’d be a top ten center. I think sometimes he plays out of control because even when he plays great like tonight or last Memphis game, he still doesn’t get his minutes. Meanwhile KK can stink it up and let competent centers try for career nights and Karl will give him his minutes because he plays the “right way”. Whatever that means.

              • OriginalJakeSauce

                JaVale has the talent to be the best center in the league. Hands down, no doubt about it, he is a force to be reckoned with, and there isn’t a team out there that can really answer for him. He’s got that asthma to slow his minutes, he’s got that coach that seems to keep watching youtubes JaFail compilations, and he’s got some serious knucklehead tendencies too. But how many years did we see Kmart as most often the dominant human being on the court? And how many bonehead shots did he take? I don’t understand GK’s approach toward McGee, but I do know that JaVale can do things I’ve never seen done on a basketball court. He and Kosta together are terrifying to other teams. Here’s to George pulling his head out of his ass and changing the starting lineup to reflect our best 5 to best their starting 5 based on matchups.

  • Bobby

    Hopefully this game is a sign of things to come. We made it through the absolute horrific part of the schedule. Let’s use this month to build some consistency and chemistry. And let’s not play Andre and Ty together anymore, it’s just ridiculous not to take advantage of our length and athleticism.

    • Jeff

      Yep, I like Andre Miller and I like Ty Lawson but when was the last time Ty was really effective off the ball? This team looked a lot different with the 2 Andres playing the 2 guard spots most of the night. It was pretty effective with Miller Iguodala and Brewer in together.

  • googergieger

    Would like to see Iguodala, Brewer, J-Ham, Gallo, and McGee see some time on the court for five or so minutes. They could stretch the floor, switch a lot defensively, and help us go on quick runs. Gallo and Iguodala could rack up some quick assists along the way as well.

  • GIANLUCA

    LAWSON and KARL the PROBLEM of nuggets

    • Charliemyboy

      Karl’s coaching just helped beat the best current team in the NBA? Did you see the game?

      • Henry

        I’m pretty critical of Karl, but the game plan for the Clips win was nothing short of stupendous. Credit Karl and company, and color me impressed and won over for a millisecond.

        Nuggets offense was much more controlled and methodical with Miller at the helm. Lawson’s running of the team doesn’t fire on those cylinders. Here’s hoping that improves, but with Karl screaming ‘run!’ at Ty every time down the court, it has to be hard. I’m betting Lawson’s game is somewhat hindered by his situation, though I’m not sure what the answer might be.

        • John

          I agree. I’ve been out for Karl’s blood several times this season, but here is one game he did well…

          Of course it could be argued that with Lawson out, he couldn’t do the two PG small ball crap that irks me and nearly everyone on this board so much, and that sabotages so many games.

          So maybe he doesn’t deserve THAT much credit.

  • GK4Prez

    Javale Mcthree A+++++

    • John

      Please don’t let that be a common occurrence…

      He needs to devote every moment to his post game, for now. Once he is dominant there, he can think about moving out.

      That is JaVale’s biggest issue, never developed his fundamentals. He started running before he learned to walk… He is like a kid, who only wants to do the “fun stuff” and not the work that gets you there.

  • Greco21

    Do not shot Kouf for an ugly game. Really ugly game. Second in a row.

    Simple mistake. Gasol, Randolph, De Andre push you deep under the basket for the offensive rebound. Scream 3 SECONDS. Most probable they might think they should get out of the paint.

    Stop fouling and stop sticking to the weak side. Make a cut.

    Remember the last game against the Clippers he had 16 with 8/8 shooting.

    The problem with Koufos and McGee and Faried is they do not earn free throws. Opposing bigs have their normal rotations without having foul trouble. They will pay this in the playoffs. Points in the paint are a playoff stat but they should not just come out of penetratation and fast breaks. They should earn fouls early.

    Gallinari is the X-factor of the team. I really prefer him driving. When he plays well this team is unstopable. Especially with under .500 teams. And that is Denver ticket to the playoff. Every time they play a .500 team they give them nightmares.

    So to conclude:

    Key to success is to make opposing bigs to commit early fouls.

  • al68

    Game raised perfectly, keeping a slow pace from the start due to the absence of Lawson.
    Just try to fast breaks when they were very clear. Miller gave a masterclass in basketball, the penalty is that most of the players and the public will not perceive.
    I had the black very easy to win this game, the first press always PG, do you ever pressure throughout the field and raise the pace of the game.
    GK juice and lots of time with Miller on several occasions he did not drive the ball into the attack and he could rest. Substitutions think have been done well.
    In short, today the game has won GK with his plan. GK is not the best coach in the NBA but he is the best asset we have. He is much better than Del Negro but he havent better players.
    Sorry I use google traslate.

  • al68

    Partido perfectamente planteado, manteniendo un ritmo lento desde el principio debido a la ausencia de Lawson.
    Solo intentamos fast breaks cuando eran muy claros. Miller dio una leccion magistral de baloncesto, la pena es que la mayoria de los jugadores y del publico no percibira.
    Del negro lo tenia muy facil para ganar este partido, lo primero presionar siempre al PG, hacer alguna vez presion en todo el campo y elevar el ritmo del partido.
    GK jugo muchisimo tiempo con Miller y en varias ocasiones no condujo él el balon hasta el ataque para poder descansar .Las substituciones creo que han estado bien hechas.En un partido lento como el de hoy con mucho juego estatico 5×5 son mucho mas importantes los jugadores altos y hoy los ha utilizado muy bien.
    En definitiva, el partido lo ha ganado hoy GK con su planteamiento. GK no es el mejor coach de la NBA pero él es el mejor activo que tenemos ya que nuestra plantilla es la de peor calidad de los ultimos años.

  • Aaron

    I don’t know guys. . . I just think Miller was horrible.. . so many turnovers tonight. I think Fournier should start to get some of his minutes, at least he can hit open shots. True, LAC missed a ton of shots tonight, and that’s the story. But, we won by 13-14 so it wasn’t JUST that. When Gallo or Iggy or Ty has a huge game like that we’re tough to beat because we get so much in the paint anyway off of penetration. Not Koufos’s best game, but I like him standing up to Griffin and Jordan. If McGee could ever get in shape he’d get more minutes, that’s the issue.

    • Ernie

      Actually it was JUST that the Clippers missed open shots that was the difference. They shot 5/29 (17%)from 3 point range and typically shoot 34.7%. They shot 13/29 (45%) from the FT line and typically shoot 71%. If they shoot their averages that gives them five more 3 pointers (15 points) and 7 more Free Throws (7 points) for a 22 point difference.

      If you want to say the Nugs normally shoot better too well that’s true although I could argue most of their misses from 3 were contested. But they shot 7/23 from 3 and normally shoot 33% so that’s only 3 points. And they shot 11/21 from FT and normally shoot 68% so that’s 3 more points for a total of 6. Nugs won by 14, shooting variance was 16 points (22 for Clips – 6 for Nuggets).

      • ny nugs fan

        one reason the clips didn’t shoot well was because the nuggets played great defense, contested every shot and kept them from getting easy baskets in transition

        when gallo and igoudala get to the basket early and get some easy baskets the game comes so much easier to both of those guys… opens up their outside shot rather than making them jump shooters

        koufos played better in the 2nd half… the addition of mosgov makes a difference in our big man rotation

        • Ernie

          Contested every shot? No. There were a ton of wide open 3’s that the Clippers missed. Miller isn’t capable of guarding 3’s and they couldn’t take advantage.

          From the recap…”Maybe two or three of the 3s that we missed, they had a hand in our face,” Chris Paul said. “But we got all the shots that we wanted. There are going to be nights like that. It just hasn’t happened for a while.”

          • NugsNate

            I saw way too many uncontested 3s. The Clips just didn’t make them. We’re normally the ones missing wide open shots. If the Clippers make those wide open 3s, I think it changes the whole complexion on the game and it’s a much tighter margin. Maybe even a loss. Why in the world are we SO horrible at switching and covering the perimeter?

          • ny nugs fan

            after getting d’d up on fan night by the same nugs they smoked on christmas day which brought their 17 game win streak to an end i would fully expect the great chris paul to say “it wasn’t them it was us” LOL

            • Ernie

              I guess we were watching different games. I saw a ton of open 3’s missed. So did the announcers. So did just about everyone on this board. It would be nice if it was because it was because they were contested, but they weren’t.

              And the point of the Paul comment is that he said only three of the missed 3’s had a hand in their face. Do you have any quotes or facts to suggest the Clippers bad shooting from 3’s were from great Nugs defense contesting them?

              • ny nugs fan

                i think the better point was made by sam mitchell after the broadcast last night when he talked about the trend was of the nugs becoming a better defensive team overall and that the game last night was evidence of that… sam is a bit of a character but one has to respect his pov… i don’t have the video of this; not available online anywhere

              • Ernie

                That has nothing to do with defending the 3 point line last night and contesting those shots. Apparently you are just one of those posters who said something and just doesn’t want to back down or find evidence he was right. I don’t have patience for that. Let’s just agree to ignore each other from now on.

      • Trip

        Yes you can look at numbers and see what might have happened on paper, but you cant say that it would have changed the final outcome, maybe they hit a few more threes and that gets gallo fired up and he shoots more than he did and makes some, also the bench doesnt get emptied and a tighter game could have produced more quality possessions down the stretch. But it is nice to see that the misses come from the other team (it feels like the first time the ball has bounced our way)

        • Ernie

          Yes, there are the whatif’s. Nugs could still have won possibly. But the bad shooting by the Clips on wide open 3’s and FT was the major story of the game.

  • http://yahoo.com prospector

    No Lawson, meant no 2 point guard lineup….. AND GUESS WHAT!!!!! We played great… Does that surprise anyone??? Also Faried played his 35 minutes…. I wonder if George Karl will learn anything from this game???? Definitely not….. SO MEMO to Masai: Trade Miller!!! For draft picks… Definitely not another point guard… I would prefer just one point guard or tall point guards (like Stone).. So Karl can’t resort to his smallball lineups anymore…

  • Brazil

    Great win against a great team. I’m a little disappointed about the bloggers tonight though. No excuses for not covering this game. Come on guys lay off the booze for a game as important as this one.
    The nuggets really need to concentrate on seeding for the playoffs because this team is unstoppable right now at home. a trend I’m hoping will carry on through the playoffs. As for the GK jabbing, can anyone else think of a current coach besides popavich that will have gone to the playoffs the last 10 seasons in a row?

    Last words, how about the Denver D? We have been shutting down really good teams as of late. That will get us far come playoff time.

    • Ban Johnson

      the problem is, unless the Nuggets win enough to grab at least a 4th or 5th seed, they’ll be playing a powerhouse in the 1st round — Clippers, Spurs, or Thunder. Catching the Warriors and holding off the Lakers and Rockets won’t be so easy.

      • Brazil

        True true, it’s still too early in the season and speculating seeding is a bit useless. I can’t wait to see how this month is going to play out after this crazy start. seeding is going to be interesting but I want to see how we match up against okc. Actually I’d like to see us runaway with the divisional title but it’s gonna be tough. In the western conference the way it is the nuggets are going to have a challenging opponent in the playoffs ho matter what though.

  • googergieger

    Western Conference is going to be crazy this year. I mean it really is going to be about match ups this year. But yes we really could use home court to help us out. If we make it out of the first round I think anything can happen in the second round.

  • SmokinNugs

    I was at the game. The crowd went WILD when McGeezy drained that 3! I still can’t believe how effective Andre Miller’s old man game was against CP3. Great win!

  • CJP32

    Props to CBrew for harassing Jamal Crawford and Chris Paul into contested shots. Crawford the NBAs leading bench scorer was held to 9 pts on 2/11 FGs along with several turnovers. Sure he missed some wide open threes, but the defense Brewer played was awesome, collecting 4 steals and several deflections. If he can play this type of D night in and night out, it makes our 2nd unit that much better, and he’s scoring 12 ppg as well.

    If Ty is out vs Minny, I wouldn’t mind seeing a starting 5 change for defensive purposes, Iggy at PG and Brewer at SG. They compliment each other well on defense and fast breaks, and it allows Dre to play 24-30 mins off the bench.

  • doktarr

    I am coming around on most of Karl’s decisions, but three things still drive me up the wall:

    1) The two-point lineups aren’t doing that well. Less of those. Of course we couldn’t use them this game, and things worked out well.

    2) The small-ball lineups with Faried at the 5 get EVISCERATED on defense. Heck, when we slide Gallo to the 4 we often get creamed on the boards, unless the 5 is McGee. That dovetails nicely with…

    3) McGee simply has to get more minutes. He’s playing great. He changes the way the other team plays. I think he should be in at the 5 whenever Faried is not on the floor, and playing at least 25 a night, probably more.

    I honestly think the Nuggets lost the Memphis game because of that small-ball lineup in crunch time. Z-Bo went at Faried and took him apart on multiple possessions late in the game. When Karl finally inserted McGee, he blocked a layup on his first posession, then when Z-Bo got the ball in the post he took one dribble before giving the ball up. Rudy Gay ended up hitting a tough fadeaway late in the shot clock, but McGee’s impact was obvious. Then he scored on a tip-in on the next offensive posession.

  • googergieger

    Wolves played last night and Denver is looking tired right now. To be fair refs sucked the life out of Denver and gave Minnesota about half of their points but still. Hopefully they’ll play like they give a damn in the second half and refs will give Denver some much needed make up calls.

    I mean first half and they already have 20 free throw attempts?! We have 17 fouls?!