Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION ; Clippers Beat Nuggets 105-90, Clinch Playoff Spot

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION ; Clippers Beat Nuggets 105-90, Clinch Playoff Spot

Article excerpt

LOS ANGELES - Each blocked shot by DeAndre Jordan got the Los Angeles Clippers a little bit closer to the postseason. Jordan had 16 points and 16 rebounds, and his six blocked shots set the tone while the Clippers beat the Denver Nuggets 105-90 on Sunday to become the fourth Western Conference team to clinch a playoff spot.

"He's one of the better rim protectors in the NBA, Nuggets coach Michael Malone said. "And for every shot he doesn't block, he has guys hesitating. I thought we got very passive tonight once he blocked a couple of shots.

Jordan had four pivotal blocks for the Clippers during a decisive third quarter. Los Angeles outscored Denver 25-12 and led 77-60 heading into the fourth.

"This team dominated us in the paint the last time we played them, Jordan said. "That was a big emphasis for us, to protect our paint, and limit those guys to one shot, try to keep their second- chance points low.

Clippers coach Doc Rivers was particularly impressed that Jordan blocked two shots against the player he was already defending.

"That's hard to do, Rivers said. "When you are blocking the weak side, we need him to do that every night. When you start blocking your own guy's shot, you are really locked in, and I thought he did that today.

Chris Paul added 14 points, six rebounds and nine assists. Jamal Crawford also had 14 points, Jeff Green and Wesley Johnson each had 13 and J.J. Redick had 12.

The Clippers had a 25-8 edge in fast-break points, which was also a credit to Jordan's presence inside.

"He's our energy guy, the captain of our defense, Paul Pierce said. "He gets the rebounds obviously, but we have been going to him a little bit more in the post on offense. He's starting to fulfill a lot of his potential. He is still young and still has a lot of room to grow. He's showing that he can keep getting better and better.

Jusuf Nurkic had 19 points, and D. …

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