The LA Clippers started this game about as poorly as possible. In fact, the 28 points the Clippers put up in this first-half of this game, was the fewest first-half points any team has scored this season. It was also the fewest first-half points any team had put up since the Clippers scored just 27 points in the first-half of their 51-point loss to Dallas last season. That is how bad the offense was to start this game; however, their defense kept the Clippers in it while the offense caught up.
Ty Lue said after the game that when you play defense the way the Clippers do, you're going to be in every game. Holding the Nuggets to just 85 points, the Clippers were able to win a game where they score just 27 points in the first half. Their team defense has been a constant all season, even when the offense has scuffled.
The Clippers were once again led offensively by Amir Coffey in this game, who finished with 18 points on 6/11 shooting. This performance comes just one game after Coffey scored 21 points in the win over Atlanta on Sunday. After the game, veteran forward Nicolas Batum said Coffey has been amazing for the Clippers lately, helping stabilize the team while they are without their top talent.
Another big reason why the Clippers were able to complete this comeback, was the play of Eric Bledsoe. While he shot just 5/13 from the field, he was a +28 in 26 minutes off the bench. With Paul George and Kawhi Leonard out, he has had the opportunity to initiate the offense, and has done a good job more nights than not. Tonight was another example of this, with Bledsoe adding nine assists to his 11 points off the bench.
While Reggie Jackson struggled mightily to begin this game, he came in midway through the 4th quarter and closed it out. With just two points in the first three quarters, Reggie poured in 11 points in the final frame, including a poster dunk over Nikola Jokic. Reggie said after the game that he got lucky punching that one in over the MVP, but his play down the stretch was a key component in the Clippers being able to pull out a win.
This is a bad loss for the Denver Nuggets, who led by as many as 25 points, and were facing a Clippers team that was missing their two star players. While they got 30 points from Aaron Gordon and 21 from Nikola Jokic, there was just no other offense to be found. The team shot just 4/33 from deep, which allowed the Clippers to crawl their way back into this one while struggling offensively themselves.
The Clippers are now just a half-game behind Denver in the standings, and will head to New Orleans on Thursday to take on the Pelicans.