Nikola Jokic (L) of the Denver Nuggets posts up in the game against the Los Angeles Clippers at Ball Arena in Denver, Colorado, November 14, 2023. /CFP
The Denver Nuggets defeated the Los Angeles Clippers 111-108 at Ball Arena in Denver, Colorado, on Tuesday, remaining undefeated at home and extending the opponents' losing streak to six games.
The Nuggets continued to lack Jamal Murray who is unlikely to return in November due to a hamstring injury, but Aaron Gordon and Reggie Jackson implanted Murray's duties well in both scoring and orchestrating as the second-in-command. Gordon shot 8-for-12 from the field to get 20 points and five assists. Jackson made seven of his 11 shots to add 18 points and four assists.
In fact, everyone in the Nuggets' rotations on Tuesday night did something to keep the ball flowing. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope delivered four assists; neither Michael Porter Jr. nor Christian Braun is a passer, but they never hesitated to cut toward the rim when they saw the chance.
Aaron Gordon (#50) of the Denver Nuggets dunks in the game against the Los Angeles Clippers at Ball Arena in Denver, Colorado, November 14, 2023. /CFP
When the rest of the Nuggets did their job, Nikola Jokic held the whole team together like a giant magnet. He was not in his best form or had the best energy in Tuesday's game as he missed 15 of his 23 field goal (FG) attempts. However, Jokic always found a way to help his team. He went to the free throw line 14 times and didn't miss a single shot. He attacked Ivica Zubac with resolution in the third quarter, drawing three quick fouls on him so the Clippers had to keep a small squad on the court for a long time. Jokic was constantly double-teamed when he posted up in the fourth quarter, but he somehow fed the ball to Gordon open under the rim more than once.
Compared with the Nuggets which delivered a total of 26 assists to keep everybody involved in offense, the Clippers had only 21 assists because their game was as simple as having Paul George, James Harden and Kawhi Leonard launch isolation one by one. Russell Westbrook and Zubac were the only two of the team that built some connections, but Zubac fell into foul trouble in the third quarter; Westbrook was benched in the final minutes of the fourth period because he hurt the spacing too much.
Paul George (L) of the Los Angeles Clippers shoots in the game against the Denver Nuggets at Ball Arena in Denver, Colorado, November 14, 2023. /CFP
George was the best-performing Clipper on Tuesday night as he went 13-for-26 in FGs to drop 35 points in addition to seven rebounds and three assists. Harden added 21 points and four assists. Leonard didn't heat up in this game, but he got five steals, including one in the final 17 seconds to enable George to make the layup that cut their deficit to one point (109-108).
Fairly speaking, before the Clippers could find a way to help Harden integrate himself with the team's system without damaging the existing chemistry, making their game simple with more isolations on offense and switching everything on defense is not the worst option. Nonetheless, that won't put the team any closer to the NBA championship, which has been their target in the past four years.
Tyrese Haliburton (#0) of the Indiana Pacers shoots in the game against the Philadelphia 76ers at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, November 14, 2023. /CFP
Other games on Tuesday (away teams come first):
Indiana Pacers 132-126 Philadelphia 76ers
The Pacers ended the 76ers' eight-game winning streak after Tyrese Haliburton went 7-for-12 from downtown to get 33 points, seven rebounds and 15 assists with no turnover at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Obi Toppin benefitted the most from his playmaking performance and made 11 of his 12 shots in the paint.
Four of the 76ers' five starters, Joel Embiid, De'Anthony Melton, Tyrese Maxey and Tobias Harris combined to drop 118 points. However, the rest of the team had no more than eight points. By contrast, the Pacers' bench unknit got 33 points.
Jordan Hawkins (#24) of the New Orleans Pelicans drives toward the rim in the game against the Dallas Mavericks at Smoothie King Center in new Orleans, Louisiana, November 14, 2023. /CFP
Dallas Mavericks 110-131 New Orleans Pelicans
The Pelicans broke the Mavericks into pieces like a bullet train hitting a piece of glass at Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, Louisiana. They had 17 steals and forced 20 turnovers by the opponents, turning those plays into 46 fast break points. This year's No. 14 selection from the NBA Draft, Jordan Hawkins alone contributed 13 points in early offense, outscoring the whole team of the Mavericks (12).
Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving played their worst game together this season, combining to shoot 11-for-29 from the field. Doncic alone committed eight turnovers, including six in the first quarter.
Miami Heat 111-105 Charlotte Hornets
Atlanta Hawks 126-120 Detroit Pistons
Orlando Magic 104-124 Brooklyn Nets
San Antonio Spurs 87-123 Oklahoma City Thunder
Portland Trail Blazers 99-115 Utah Jazz
Minnesota Timberwolves 104-101 Golden State Warriors
Memphis Grizzlies 107-134 Los Angeles Lakers