There are a lot of things that have stopped Randy Foye from being anything more than a fringe starting player in the NBA, but it’s hard to take away from him that special something he has when the game is on the line, showing it once again with a buzzer-beating game winning shot to lift the Denver Nuggets over the Los Angeles Clippers.
In a game that suited the style of both teams, it looked like the lob city and dunking machine the Clippers had going on was going to be too much for the Nuggets. However, some bad defense late in the game from the Clippers and a big performance from Ty Lawson and Kenneth Faried, both born to play in run-and-gun games like this one, set up the chance for Foye to come up as the hero.
The Clippers held a 13 point lead in the first half and were up by two points going into the final possession, but Randy Foye got just about enough separation from J.J. Redick as he backed off for a long 3 to win the game 116-115. He finished the game with 14 points and 7 rebounds, helping the Nuggets get back to .500.
Kenneth Faried had a 28 points, 11 rebounds performance. It was the kind of game that brought him a lot of attention last season, but this year it’s been rougher due to Brian Shaw changing up the style and putting a similar player like J.J. Hickson in the lineup next to him. Faried scored 28 points, bringing down 11 rebounds, finishing with 11-of-13 from the field. He now has 12 double doubles this season.
Ty Lawson enjoyed not having Chris Paul facing him, resulting in 27 points. Hickson also had an impressive stat line and double double, finishing with 17 points and 12 rebounds.
The Clippers had their usual high flying form on. Blake Griffin continues his excellent form, scoring 36 points and adding 11 rebounds. He finished with 4 assists, most of them going to DeAndre Jordan who was too much to handle for the Nuggets defense that kept leaving open space for him to operate in beneath the basket, resulting in quite a few dunks, as Jordan finished scoring 19 points and 12 rebounds on 7-of-10 from the field and surprising with 5-of-6 from the line.
Where did it go wrong for the Clippers? Their defense disappointed when it mattered and especially in the fourth quarter, allowing 34 points, but it was also the outside shooting game they couldn’t get going, hitting only 6-of-21 from beyond the arc (28.6%). Allowing 17 offensive rebounds, finding blocking out Hickson and Faried extremely difficult, was the other end of the small-things failure that eventually cost the game just as much as Foye’s clutch shooting did.
The Denver Nuggets don’t look consistent enough against teams with better defenses to make them feel like a safe bet for the playoffs. At 23-23, they’re 3.5 games behind Dallas at 8th, but the Grizzlies are also ahead of them, and looking much better at the moment despite not having all of their players. Foye has been coming up with some impressive late-game plays this season, but there’s a good chance it won’t be enough to get them into the playoffs when the dust settles.