The Los Angeles Clippers faced the Denver Nuggets in their preseason finale ultimately falling 126-115 on Wednesday evening at Toyota Arena.
Los Angeles finished its tune-up for the regular season 2-2 and will face the Los Angeles Lakers in their regular season opener on Tuesday, October 20.
Clippers coach Tyronn Lue was not pleased with the loss and the way his team approached the finale.
“I thought tonight we didn’t handle well,” said Lue. “We didn’t come out with a professional mindset. I didn’t like the way we approached the game tonight. I didn’t like that.”
Norman Powell led the Clippers with a game-high 34 points in only 25 minutes while making 11-of-14 shots from the field. Marcus Morris Sr finished with 13 while Luke Kennard added 11.
“I’m just ready mentally and physically… I think this year you’re going to be able to see my full game on display,” Powell said.
Ish Smith led Denver with 16 points.
Clippers forward Paul George and Nuggets center Nikola Jokic both finished with two points apiece in only 16 minutes of play. Kawhi Leonard did not suit up (rest).
Los Angeles was ultimately forced into 20 turnovers and were outscored 64-42 in points in the paint while trailing as many as 14 in the fourth.
“We got to tighten up,” Powell said. “We know the hype around the team, we know how our roster is built, we know the expectations. And everybody around the league knows. And we got to approach the game better, we got to prepare better, we have to be mentally locked in. Teams are going to give us all they have out there and attack us and not going to take plays off.”
The play of the night came from rookie forward Moussa Diabate when he finished a fast break with a thunderous dunk over Jack White.
“It was big time. I think he’s been great all camp, asking questions and learning,” Lue said on Diabate.
Lue will still have to make one decision soon in regards to who will be starting at point guard for the Clippers between John Wall and Reggie Jackson. A choice that does not seem like a simple one.
“I thought I knew, but I don’t know now.”
The Clippers will open up the regular season against the Lakers on Tuesday at 7:00 p.m. at Crypto.com Arena.
“We just got to do better, it comes with being focused, locked in on practice, everything that we need to do and carry it over to the games,” Powell said. “I would agree that we didn’t have that right mental approach and lock in with these seven days that we have off and get ready for the 20th.”