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Clippers defeat Nuggets, 103-95

February 22, 2012|By Melissa Rohlin
  • Clippers forward Blake Griffin attempts a dunk during the first half of Wednesday's game against the Denver Nuggets.
Clippers forward Blake Griffin attempts a dunk during the first half of… (Harry How / Getty Images )

The Clippers will enter the All-Star break with momentum.

They snapped their two-game losing streak with a 103-95 victory over Denver at Staples Center in front of a sellout crowd of 19,163.

Chris Paul opened the fourth quarter with a quick seven points to help give the Clippers an 89-85 advantage.

But behind Al Harrington and Jordan Hamilton's offense, the Nuggets came back.

The Clippers trailed by one point at 92-91 with just over five minutes left -- and then they took over. Caron Butler converted a step-back jumper. Then DeAndre Jordan made a layup. Then Blake Griffin made four free throws on two trips.

The 8-0 run gave the Clippers a 99-92 lead with just over two minutes remaining and put them on the brink of their second win against the Nuggets this season.

Jordan capped the victory with a putback dunk and a strong block. He finished with 10 points and 16 rebounds.

Paul finished with a season-high 36 points on 11-of-16 shooting, making three three-pointers and 11 of 12 free-throw attempts. Griffin had 27 points and 12 rebounds.

Arron Afflalo led the Nuggets, who have lost nine of their last 12 games, with 20 points.

The Clippers improved to 20-11 and avenged a 21-point loss to the Nuggets earlier this month.

THIRD QUARTER

Blake Griffin and Chris Paul took over for the Clippers in the third quarter, combining for 24 points to help the team take a 80-79 lead.

At the top of the period, Griffin took a step from the free-throw line then soared through the air for a seemingly impossible dunk. (Too bad Timofey Mosgov didn't try to contest the play for highlight reel No. 2 of the season) Then on the following play, Chris Paul lobbed the ball to Griffin for another jam.

A bit of a heated staring contest ensued between Griffin and Andre Miller after Griffin grabbed a rebound with just over five minutes remaining in the third and thought he was hacked on the play. He proceeded to complain his way to a delay-of-game warning  -- then scored a layup on the team's next possession.

Paul had a big three-point play with just under four minutes remaining, making a teardrop layup through a foul and converting his free throw to help dig the Clippers out of a five-point hole and take a 71-69 lead. Paul scored two three-pointers in the quarter and, in one play, dribbled through traffic, weaving past outstretched arms to make an impressive layup.

When Paul was sent to the free-throw line a few plays later, a very slight "MVP" chant could be heard from the bleachers.

DeAndre Jordan picked up his fourth personal foul with just under eight minutes remaining in the third quarter and sat for the rest of the period.

FIRST HALF

The Clippers' 21-point loss to Denver at the beginning of the month seemed like a distant memory as the teams played their third game of the season on Wednesday evening at Staples Center.

There were 14 lead changes and eight ties in the first half as the Clippers try to prevent slipping into their first three-game losing streak of the season and Denver attempts to win two in a row for the first time since the middle of the month.

The Nuggets entered halftime with a 54-52 lead.

The teams entered the second quarter tied at 27 -- then the Clippers struggled from the field, making only eight of 22 shots. Also, the Nuggets' bench has outscored the Clippers' bench, 19-12.

The Clippers remained in the game because they outrebounded the Nuggets, 26-21.

Chris Paul leads the Clippers with 13 points and three assists. Blake Griffin has nine points, Randy Foye added eight and DeAndre Jordan contributed six points and 12 rebounds.

 The first half had its share of fun plays.

Midway through the first quarter, Foye hit a pair of three pointers then dished the ball to Griffin  for a two-handed dunk to put the Clippers up, 14-9.

In the second quarter, Paul stole the ball and gracefully shot a reverse layup. Kenyon Martin added a strong two-handed dunk in the final minute of the first half.

The Nuggets have lost eight of their last 11 while playing without their leading scorer, Danilo Gallinari, who has a sprained left ankle.

Jordan Hamilton, who averages 3.5 points a game, has a team-leading 13 points for the Nuggets, including a dramatic one-handed dunk with over eight minutes remaining in the first half to put Denver up by five points at 36-31.

Denver is also playing without Nene (left calf strain), Ty Lawson (left ankle sprain) and Rudy Fernandez (lower back strain).

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