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Clippers Snap Out of It With Win Over Denver

January 15, 1987|CHRIS BAKER | Times Staff Writer

The streak is finally over.

The Clippers ended their 16-game losing streak by beating the Denver Nuggets, 123-105, Wednesday night at the Sports Arena.

The Clippers received a standing ovation from the announced crowd of 6,948 fans after they got the monkey off their backs by winning for the first time since Dec. 10. Team captain Cedric Maxwell even shook hands with the fans in the front row.

"This was like winning the World Series. It was like being in Pasadena for the Super Bowl," Maxwell said. "It was bound to happen eventually. I didn't think we were going to go the rest of the way without winning a game."

The Clippers had lost 28 of their previous 29 games.

Forward Michael Cage led the Clippers with 22 points, 10 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 steals, and guard Mike Woodson added 20 points.

"No one wants to be the laughingstock of the whole league," Woodson said. "It feels great to win a game. It was no fun going through this."

Said Cage: "I feel I can wake up tomorrow and breathe now that this is over. It (the losing streak) had been such a mental thing."

Said Clipper Coach Don Chaney: "We were long overdue. In the past, we just couldn't finish up in the fourth quarter. On the road, we played a tough six games, we just couldn't do it. . . . You never say never. I felt real good about this one."

Center Benoit Benjamin, who was booed during pregame warm-ups, scored 15 points and hauled down 10 rebounds in one of his best efforts of the season. Maxwell had 13 points and 6 rebounds.

Alex English scored a game-high 39 points to lead Denver, and Mike Evans added 18 points.

Denver (16-22) had a three-game winning streak snapped. The Clippers are 5-31, with two of their wins coming against Denver.

"It was embarrassing," English said. "They had lost 16 in a row and they come home and beat us. They've won five games and two have been against us. They were ready to play, and we weren't."

The Nuggets played much of the second half without forward Danny Schayes, who left the game after he was elbowed in the throat by Benjamin with 8 minutes 17 seconds left in the third quarter.

Benjamin received a foul and was also called for an unsportsmanlike act, which carries an automatic $100 fine.

Schayes was taken to Daniel Freeman Hospital in Marina del Rey for an examination of a possible throat concussion. He was expected to be hospitalized overnight for observation.

"He (Schayes) had been pushing me in the back all night long," Benjamin said. "I got tired of it and cracked him one. Every now and then you've got to do it. I told the ref about it, and I told him (Schayes). Then I just took it into my own hands."

Clipper Notes Clipper General Manager Elgin Baylor denied a report that the Clippers are trying to swing a deal with the Houston Rockets that would give the Clippers a first-round pick. The Rockets need help in the backcourt after Lewis Lloyd and Mitchell Wiggins were banned Tuesday for drug usage, and were reportedly interested in Clipper guards Darnell Valentine and Mike Woodson. However, Baylor said that the Clippers haven't talked to the Rockets. . . . Clipper guard Quintin Dailey missed the game because he was in Chicago meeting with his drug counselors. Although he had permission to miss the game, he had hoped to make it back in time. . . . The Clippers will open a three-game trip Friday night against the Golden State Warriors. They play at Phoenix Saturday and at San Antonio Monday night.

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