The Denver Nuggets had a very productive month of January, going 12-5 in their 17 games, but they ended the month on a two-game losing streak. One of those losses came on Sunday night against the Los Angeles Clippers, who used a season-high 32 point performance from Chauncey Billups to fuel the victory. Billups had been a part of the Carmelo Anthony trade almost one year ago, and his first game back at the Pepsi Center quickly became a memorable one. The Nuggets have lost three straight to the Clippers, which is their longest active losing streak against any team in the NBA, but they will get the chance to change their fortunes on Thursday night at Staples Center.
Star point guard Ty Lawson missed the first matchup with a sprained left ankle, but he will be available to go against Chris Paul. Blake Griffin and the Clippers this time around. Lawson returned to action on Tuesday against the Memphis Grizzlies, and managed just 12 points and four assists in 34 minutes. Even so, Al Harrington and Andre Miller have continued their hot play, so if Lawson can get back on track the offense should pick up steam and be able to keep pace with Lob City.
What have the Clippers been up to since their win over Nuggets? They've collected two more wins against top teams in the Western Conference -- the Oklahoma City Thunder and Utah Jazz -- and have now won four straight games. Last night's road victory against the Jazz might be the most impressive thing they've done all season, as SB Nation's Steve Perrin explains:
This victory by the Clippers may be more impressive than the ones over the Nuggets andThunder, because things did not come easily. L.A. has been red hot from long-range, and had made 14 three-pointers against Denver and 13 against Oklahoma City. Wednesday night in Utah, they were 5-22 from deep. With Chauncey Billups struggling (1 for 8 missing all five of his three-pointers), Mo Williams slightly cooler than he has been (he managed to score 19 but was just 6 for 18 from the field) and Caron Butler sitting out with a sore back, it was up to Paul and Griffin to grind out a win. Griffin finished the game with 31 points, 14 rebounds and three blocked shots. He and Paul combined to score 65 of L.A.'s 107. And what may be most frightening for the rest of the league, they are just now beginning to develop some real rapport on the pick and roll.
Here is some basic information to help you find the game:
Game day/time: 8:30 PM MT, February 2, 2012
Location: STAPLES Center, Los Angeles, CA
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