The vibes were immaculate at home as the LA Clippers overcame a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter to secure their first “win” of the 2021-22 season, 103-102 over the Denver Nuggets Monday night. Read on for our full Clippers vs. Nuggets preseason game recap.
Clippers vs. Nuggets Game Notes
- Center Battle: Third-center watch was in full effect in this one as Isaiah Hartenstein, Harry Giles and Moses Wright all turned in some fine efforts. Perhaps the clear “winner” of the night, however, had to be Hartenstein. No. 55 was as advertised and then some coming in as the first big off the LAC bench, displaying those young legs on multiple rim rattlers, as well as his passing chops and newfound training-camp chemistry with Luke Kennard. Ultimately, Giles (16:04) and Wright (16:58) each played more minutes than Hartenstein (14:29), but mainly after most of the Clippers’ rotation guys began cooling down for the night.
- Justise’s Mobility: Clocking in 25 minutes, the 25-year-old, six-year vet indeed looked healthy. Coming off a hip replacement among several other concerning injuries over the years, as discussed in-depth on TLTJTP, it was an encouraging Clipper debut for Justise Winslow Monday. Starting off as the backup point guard to finishing the game as the small-ball center, Winslow gave a glimpse of the versatility Tyronn Lue has been envisioning his role to be on both ends of the court.
- Mann and Kennard’s Aggression: Terance Mann and Luke Kennard combined for 26 of the Clippers’ 88 field goal attempts against the Nuggets. Although most of their shots were a bit off the mark, which of course doesn’t matter in the preseason, Mann and Kennard set the tone each moment they were out there. Whether it was cutting, picking up the ball-handler or making the extra pass, the off-the-bench duo made process-defining plays all night.
- Young Guys: Unfortunately, Keon Johnson joined fellow rookie Jason Preston (Right Foot Injury) on the sidelines as a late scratch due to a “non-COVID illness.” The members of the Clipper Summer League crew who could suit up, however, all had fun showings. Jay Scrubb looked comfortable out there, being aggressive on size-up, pull-up jumpers and coast-to-coast layups. Outside of open threes refusing to drop, Amir Coffey was steady in a game-high 31 minutes, making timely reads both as a passer and a cutter. Getting the spot start alongside Coffey on the wing, Brandon Boston Jr. showed some flashes once again. Although the referees and Denver vets did him no favors — five personal fouls in 20 minutes — Boston Jr. was a team-high +15 with a confident shooting stroke and handle that continues to make his 51-spot draft night slip look silly. Scoring 12 points (4-5 FG, 3-4 3PT) in 12 minutes, George King wasted zero time out there in the 3-and-D role. Lastly, the aforementioned Moses Wright was fun to watch out there, attacking the rim as one would expect of an ACC Player of the Year award winner.
- DKS: Likely the most tangible takeaway from this one was the Drive, Kick, Swing Clippers’ offensive identity. With 26 assists on the night, the Clippers were relentless in touching the paint, back door-ing napping defenders and pushing the pace to find shooters. The starters got the game rolling with Reggie Jackson knocking down three triples off of Lue-inspired action, and the reserves kept the unselfish play going the rest of the night.
- Up Next: The Clippers will continue their four-game preseason stretch against the Sacramento Kings at Staples Center on Wednesday, Oct. 6, at 7:30 p.m. PT.
213Hoops is an independently owned and operated L.A. Clippers blog by Clippers fans, for Clippers fans. If you enjoy our content, please consider subscribing to our Patreon. Subscriptions start at $1 a month and support from readers like you goes a long way towards helping us keep 213Hoops sustainable, growing, and thriving.