By Mykell Mathieu
LOS ANGELES, Calif. — The Clippers come up short against a depleted Denver Nuggets losing, 113-104, in front a stunned Crypto.com Arena crowd.
Coming into this game against a Nuggets team with no Nikola Jokic, no Aaron Gordon and no Jamaal Murray. Most expect an easy win for the Clippers but it did not happen.
The Clippers Big 4 was outplayed by former Clippers guard Reggie Jackson and center DeAndre Jordan.
Jackson finished the game with 35 points and 12 assists. Nearly outscoring the combined efforts of Kawhi Leonard, Paul George & James Harden, who combined to score 48 points total.
Jordan, had the best game that we’ve seen since possibly his Clipper days by adding 21 points, five assists and 13 rebounds.
“Reggie just did a great job putting pressure on in the pick-and-roll, and DeAndre is one of the best still at getting out slipping and playing above the rim. They just had it working tonight,” said George.
The defense was a major issue for Los Angeles all night but the offense has it’s struggles as well.
Leonard led the Clippers with 31 points and Ivica Zubac had 23 points and 14 rebounds. George who battled foul trouble throughout scored a disappointing six points on 2 for 13 shooting.
Russell Westbrook put together a second straight solid performance off the bench scoring 14 points and added 11 rebounds. Westbrook did miss two clutch free throws late while the Clippers trailed 102-98 late in the fourth.
Harden finished the game with 11 points and four assists as he continues to find his way in the offense.
The Clippers were limited to four field goals in the fourth, when they went 8 of 12 from the free throw line. Harden had two turnovers in the final minutes and George shot an airball in the closing seconds as the Clippers lost their eighth in a row to the Nuggets.
Coach Tyronn Lue was disappointed by the offensive performance his team put together in their matchup with the short-handed defending champions.
“I said (before the game), they were going to come in and play hard and compete,” said Lue. “Then, just tonight offensively, I just thought we were nasty offensively. Too slow. Too methodical and only taking 20 threes, not really getting to what we wanted to get into.”
The Clippers hope to put this tough loss behind them as they prepare for their Northern California trip to face-off against the Kings & Warriors.