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|After four games with their defense leading the way http://www.chargersauthorizedshops.com/authentic-justin-jones-jersey , the Denver Nuggets turned to their offense Saturday and regained control of their playoff destiny.
The Nuggets made 10 of their first 12 shots and they ran off to a 134-115 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday.
They will reach the postseason if they win their last two games.
”At this time of the year, it’s all about finding a way to get wins,” Nuggets coach Mike Malone said.
”We’re playing `Get-It-Done’ basketball. We’re getting it done. Going into tonight, we’d been playing good defense. We controlled the game, won all four quarters, another big step in the right direction.”
Will Barton scored 31 points and Nikola Jokic added 23 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists as the Nuggets posted their fifth straight win to pull into a tie with the Minnesota Timberwolves for eighth place in the Western Conference with two games to play. Both teams are 45-35.
The Nuggets finish the regular season at home against Portland on Monday night.
”I think overall – offensively, defensively, controlling our turnovers, I think we’re playing overall our best basketball,” Paul Millsap said. ”Not our best offense we’ve played all year, not necessarily our best defense, but to be a good team you have to have balance.”
It all sets up for the Nuggets’ season-ending game against the Timberwolves in Minneapolis on Wednesday night. Minnesota, which holds the tiebreaker over the Nuggets John Franklin-Myers Color Rush Jersey , hosts Memphis on Monday night.
”Our guys have really taken that to heart,” Malone said. ”There’s a belief in that locker room, a lot of positivity. I think we’re all in, 100 percent, believing in each other.”
Meanwhile, the injury-riddled Clippers were eliminated from the playoff race. The Clippers suffered their fourth loss in five games, falling to 42-38, 2 1/2 games out of eighth place with two to play. The elimination ends a run of six consecutive postseason appearances for the Clippers, who previously missed the playoffs in 2010-11.
”I don’t think I have been more proud of a group, maybe ever, than I have been of this group,” said Clippers coach Doc Rivers, who has been forced by injuries to field 35 starting lineups. ”We have asked a lot of guys to do a lot of stuff they should not have had to do and yet they did it.”
On Saturday, the Clippers simply could not keep up with the Nuggets as they had 36 assists on 53 field goals.
”The stat that jumps out at me was the fact that we had 36 assists Cheap Michael Dickson Jersey , and eight turnovers,” Malone said. ”We actually had more assists than rebounds. I’ve never seen that before.”
Jamal Murray added 19 points and Wilson Chandler 13 for the Nuggets, who shot their second-best shooting percent (62.4) of the season.
”When the ball is moving around like it was tonight, and you’re able to shoot 62 percent, guys definitely made shots, but we passed up good shots to get great shots,” Malone said. ”The offense was obviously firing on all cylinders tonight.”
Lou Williams scored 24 points to lead the Clippers. DeAndre Jordan added 16 points and 17 rebounds, with Tyrone Wallace added 18 points and Tobias Harris had 16 for Los Angeles.
Leading 81-71, Barton hit a 3-pointer after the Nuggets grabbed a pair of offensive rebounds to ignite a 12-3 run that finished with Harris making the score 93-74 with 3:09 to play.
The Clippers never got closer than 12 points after that.
The victory was Denver’s first this season over the Clippers, who won the first two meetings, 109-104 at Staples Center on Jan. 17, and 122-120 in Denver on Feb. 27.
Nuggets: Opened the game making 10 of 12 shots for a 21-13 lead with 4:41 left in the first quarter, finishing the quarter 15 of 21 for a 33-26 advantage.
Clippers: Lou Williams, the team’s leading scorer Didi Gregorius Jersey , was 0 for 7 in the first half, scoring eight points on free throws. His first basket, a 3-pointer, came with 7:04 left in the third with the Clippers down 80-66.
After the Clippers were badly beaten 117-95 by the Jazz in Utah on Thursday night, Doc Rivers gave his team the day off before playing the Nuggets.
”Watched film, watched the Masters, went out and played nine,” Rivers said. ”What can you do? We don’t have enough bodies in practice. You’ve got to get your mind ready.”
Nuggets: Host the Portland Trailblazers on Monday night.
Clippers: Host the New Orleans Pelicans on Monday night.
Atlanta is set to add another expansion franchise – this time in esports.
The Overwatch League announced Thursday that Atlanta will join the global, city-based esports circuit in 2019, its second season. The team will be managed by Atlanta Esports Ventures, a partnership between Cox Enterprises and Province Inc.
”We’ve had our eye on Atlanta for a long time,” said Pete Vlastelica, president and CEO of Activision Blizzard Esports Leagues. ”It is near the top of the list of remaining Overwatch cities in the world, certainly in North America.”
The league also announced a new franchise in Guangzhou Danny Salazar Jersey , China. It plans to add four more franchises before next season, which would bring the total to 18.
The Overwatch League explored awarding Atlanta one of its 12 inaugural franchises but couldn’t find an ownership fit for the first season. The league is hoping to capture some of the same enthusiasm backing Atlanta United of the MLS. The soccer club has shattered just about every MLS attendance record since joining the league in 2017.
”There’s a lot of Overwatch players there, and not just in Atlanta but in the Southeast,” Vlastelica said. ”Between Texas, where we have two franchises, and Florida, where we have a franchise, there’s a lot of America and a lot of video game players and a lot of Overwatch players. And it’s just a great sports market.”
Province executive Paul Hamilton will serve as Atlanta’s president and general manager. He’s a lifelong esports enthusiast and hardcore fan of Blizzard’s 6 vs. 6 first-person shooter. He plans to be hands-on regarding player acquisition and roster management.
”I probably have more strong feelings about players than most of the people that are running these teams,” Hamilton said. ”That may end up not being a good thing, but we’ll see.”
Player contracts from the league’s inaugural season will expire Sept. 9, and the league’s expansion franchises will be granted an exclusive free agency window from then until Oct. 7 to fill the bulk of their rosters. The minimum salary for players in the league’s inaugural season was $50,000.
Hamilton has been in contact with people from the AMB Group, Arthur Blank’s company that manages the Atlanta Falcons and Atlanta United. Hamilton is hoping to build local support in much the same way the soccer team did.
”They really engaged the hardcore fan first,” Hamilton said. ”They wanted the people that are tried and true.”
The Guangzhou franchise was awarded to Nenking Group Authentic Isac Lundestrom Jersey , which also manages the Guangzhou Long Lions of the Chinese Basketball Association.
Atlanta and Guangzhou have yet to announce team names or unveil logos. Expansion fees were not disclosed. The 12 inaugural franchises were reportedly awarded last year for $20 million each, with New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and New York Mets owner Jeff Wilpon among the initial buyers.
Like the rest of the Overwatch League, Atlanta and Guangzhou will be based out of Southern California next season. The league is hosting all matches at Blizzard Arena in Burbank, California, until its franchises can find arenas and build the infrastructure necessary for esport events in their host cities. The league hopes to begin holding true home-and-away matches in its third season.
The league’s 14 franchises currently span three continents, including first-year champion London, runner-up Philadelphia, Seoul and Shanghai. Vlastelica said the league would likely announce a 15th team in the next week or two, with future expansion focused mostly outside the United States.
London beat Philadelphia in the league’s first Grand Finals at Barclays Center in New York last week. The first night of the two-night championship was broadcast live on ESPN, a first for the traditional sports network in prime time.