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Thursday, Jan. 3, 2013
Nuggets end Clippers' streak
Los Angeles sees franchise record halted at 17 straight wins
DENVER — During an undefeated five-week run by the Los Angeles Clippers, the Denver Nuggets were just another team they beat along the way. The second time around, the Nuggets were the team that ground the Clippers' streak to a halt.
Danilo Gallinari led six Nuggets players in double figures with 17 points and Denver stopped the Clippers' franchise-record winning streak at 17 games with a 92-78 victory Tuesday night.
The Clippers' streak was the longest in the NBA since the Boston Celtics won 19 in a row from Nov. 15-Dec. 23, 2008.
"We were all a step slower today," said Blake Griffin, who had 12 points for the Clippers. "We've got to be better than that. We're not going to sit and cry on the plane and get beat down. We're not going to cause ourselves to lose our confidence, despite what people want us to do. That's the best thing about the NBA — you've got another game."
Griffin went 4 of 11 from the field — the first time he's shot below 50 percent in 18 games.
Andre Iguodala said the victory against the NBA's hottest team could help Denver build "our confidence, our swagger.
"The Clippers have been playing with that the last 18 games. That builds into them winning. They have the mentality every night they're going to go out there and win. We've got to build the same thing and try to string along the same type of win streak."
The loss was the first for the Clippers since a 105-98 setback against New Orleans Nov. 26. It also marked the end of a franchise-record seven-game winning streak on the road.
Kenneth Faried added 14 points and 11 rebounds for the Nuggets, who won their eighth in a row at home.
The Clippers, whose point total was two above their season-low, were hurt by poor shooting from 3-point range (5 of 29, 17.2 percent) and the free throw line (13 of 29, 44.8 percent).
Eric Bledsoe also had 12 points, DeAndre Jordan had 11 and Chris Paul 10 for the Clippers.
"Maybe two or three of the 3's that we missed, they had a hand in our face," Paul said. "But we got all the shots that we wanted. There are going to be nights like that. It just hasn't happened for a while."
Andre Miller, starting in place of point guard Ty Lawson, had 12 points and 12 assists for the Nuggets. Lawson, the team said, has been bothered by tightness in his left Achilles' tendon for the past week, forcing him to miss a game for the first time this season.
"We don't win this game without Andre," Nuggets coach George Karl said. "He just got us easy baskets, got a lot of guys involved, gave our team a lot of confidence."
Miller said, "It was a good win against a good team. We beat them every quarter. It was a weird game, kind of slow. Both teams want to get up and down the court. It was one of those nights were we fell into some easy baskets. We controlled our turnovers and had the energy on our side."
Trail Blazers 105, Knicks 100
In New York, the Trail Blazers overcame Carmelo Anthony's 45 points and spoiled Amare Stoudemire's season debut for the Knicks.
Nicolas Batum scored 26 points for Portland, and Damian Lillard had 21 points, six assists and five rebounds. LaMarcus Aldridge finished with 19 points and 14 rebounds.
Stoudemire had six points on 3-of-8 shooting and one rebound in 17 minutes off the bench in his return from knee surgery. Anthony shot 14 of 24 and nearly led the Knicks back from 19 points down after missing two games with a knee injury, but the Trail Blazers had too many options.
J.J. Hickson scored all of his 18 points in the first half as Portland won for the third time in four games.
76ers 103, Lakers 99
In Los Angeles, Jrue Holiday had 26 points and 10 assists, and Evan Turner added 22 points and 13 rebounds to lead Philadelphia over the Lakers.
The Lakers (15-16) have matched their worst start after 31 games since the 2002-03 season, when they began defense of their third straight NBA title with a 12-19 record.
Kobe Bryant, who shifted from shooting guard to small forward five games ago in coach Mike D'Antoni's redesigned rotation, led the Lakers with 36 points. Steve Nash added 12 points and 10 assists.
Hawks 95, Hornets 86
In New Orleans, Josh Smith scored 10 of his 23 points in the third quarter to lead Atlanta to the win.
Al Horford added 20 points, Kyle Korver had 14 and Zaza Pachulia 12 for the Hawks.
Hornets guard Eric Gordon, playing in his first home game this season, scored 11 points on 5-of-17 shooting. He made his season debut in a victory over Charlotte on Saturday after recovering from a knee injury.
Mavericks 103, Wizards 94
In Washington, Vince Carter scored 23 points, O.J. Mayo and Darren Collison had 15 apiece and the Mavericks snapped a six-game losing streak.
When the Wizards (4-25) took a 14-point lead early in the second quarter, Dallas, which had arrived in Washington in the midst of its longest skid in nearly 14 years, rallied. The Mavericks trailed by four at the half and outscored the Wizards 35-19 in the third to take an 83-71 lead.
Chris Kaman scored 12 points for Dallas, and Shawn Marion had 11 points and a season-high 14 rebounds.
Pistons 103, Kings 97
In Auburn Hills, Michigan, Greg Monroe had 18 points and 11 rebounds, and the Pistons held on for their first three-game winning streak of the season.
Sacramento cut a 16-point fourth-quarter deficit to one, and Detroit led 100-97 when Austin Daye made a 3-pointer with the shot clock running down with 11.5 seconds left.
Detroit has won five of six, in large part because of terrific play from its reserves. The group scored 44 points Tuesday despite losing Charlie Villanueva to a second-quarter ejection.