The Los Angeles Clippers didn’t get off to the best of starts in their current five-game road trip, suffering a tough 123-98 loss to the Denver Nuggets. The Clippers were down as much as 35 in the fourth quarter, tying their largest deficit of the season.
“We know we can play better. We know we can play better on both ends of the floor,” center DeAndre Jordan said after the game. “But, we have to play harder on both ends of the floor. It doesn’t matter if our shots aren’t falling or if we’re getting beat on defense. We still have to play hard. And, I don’t feel like we did that for the entire game, and it showed.”
Jordan received his second technical foul in the second half, getting thrown out for applauding towards the refs after a foul was called. Jordan received the first technical foul backing Nuggets big man Nikola Jokic down. Jordan slapped away the defender’s hand aggressively, earning the technical. The rest was merely an exercise in futility.
Jokic finished with 19 points and 10 rebounds in 21 minutes. Jordan had 14 points on six-of-10 shooting in 27 minutes.
Austin Rivers unfortunately got in foul trouble early, forcing Raymond Felton to be the first sub off the bench. Big man Marreese Speights had trouble keeping up with Kenneth Faried, causing a domino effect of matchup issues that led to a 14-point deficit at the half.
“We’ve got tonight to feel bad for ourselves and go to a bar or whatever you do…and then, you get back up,” Doc Rivers said post-game.
The Clippers continue their road trip on Monday, heading to Atlanta for another tough matchup.
Griffin is expected to return to the lineup sometime during the road trip, having missed 17 games since undergoing an arthroscopic procedure on his right knee in December.
Sources, according to ESPN’s Kevin Arnovitz, said they expect Griffin to return Tuesday against Philadelphia.
“We just want him to go through a couple more [workouts] before we play him,” Rivers said about Griffin’s return.