Nuggets hold off Clippers’ fourth quarter come-back

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Nuggets hold off Clippers’ fourth quarter come-back 
The Denver Nuggets came out on top over the L.A. Clippers in a 108-104 victory on Sunday. J.R. Smith(notes) and Gary Forbes lead the Nuggets with 24 and 22 points respectively. The undrafted rookie, Eric Boateng, had his first start for
the Nuggets and played 22 minutes getting two points.
Carmelo Anthony was benched for the second straight game after his near triple-double against the Clippers last Thursday. 
The Nuggets were able to win without Kenyon Martin or Al Harrington who both have injuries to their left leg. Chris Anderson with an injury to his right knee also was not playing. Anderson and Martin both are recovering from surgery.  
Power forward Brian Cook led Los Angeles with 28 points and seven rebounds which contrasted with his 1.4 career point average. This is Brian Cook’s first year with the Nuggets. In the prior two years spent with Houston he saw little playing time averaging
below three minutes both seasons.
Late rally
The game was highlighted by the exceptional play of Clippers’ Randy Foye(notes) in the final 13 seconds of the game which saw him cash in on a pair of three point shots ultimately leading the Clippers to come within three points at one point
after starting the fourth quarter 13 points behind the Nuggets. 
Blake Griffin the rookie forward whose initiation into the NBA was delayed last year due to a stress fracture that required surgery did not play Sunday against the Nuggets. Griffin, the number one pick in the 2009 draft, twisted his ankle in an early exhibition
against Utah on Saturday. Despite this minor injury Griffin remained on court and played an aggressive game seeing over 34 minutes of game-time.
Griffin’s tweaked ankle made coach Vinny Del Negro’s decision to sideline him easier. “I was kind of thinking about giving him the night off, anyway, but this made my decision much easier.” Del Negro continued to stress the insignificance and purely cautious
nature of his decision saying, “He’s fine, but we just want to be smart. He actually feels a lot better right now. If it was the regular season, he’d play. I expect he’ll play Tuesday, unless something comes up in the next 48 hours that I don’t know about.” 
Sloppy play
The source of the Clippers poor play in the pre-season has been sloppy turnovers. Against the Nuggets the Clippers lost the ball to the Nuggets 23 times. Their turn-over rate stands out as their Achilles’ heal with an average of 23.2 turnovers
a game. Some would argue that stats don’t matter in the pre-season but this stat is particularly important because it signifies the unity of the team and may portend to sloppy play in the future.    
The Nuggets’ next game is against the Oklahoma City Thunder while the Clippers are set to play the Sacramento Kings, both games are this Tuesday 19 October. 



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