Guard Chris Paul, left, dribbles around Denver Nuggets forward Danilo… (Chris Schneider/ Associated…)
DENVER — They had the look of a Clippers team that's ready for the real season to begin.
They played their final exhibition game like a Clippers team intent on showing the Denver Nuggets that L.A. will be a serious team to deal with in the Western Conference.
With five players scoring in double figures and two others one point shy, the Clippers wrapped up their exhibition season with a 106-94 victory over Denver on Thursday night at the Pepsi Center.
On Wednesday night, the real season begins for the Clippers when they play the Memphis Grizzlies at Staples Center in the regular-season opener for both teams.
"We're ready. I can't wait," said Chris Paul, who had a double-double with 10 points and 12 assists.
Paul played 29 minutes 27 seconds after sitting out Wednesday night's game with a sore right thigh.
"Obviously, we're not where we want to be because it's early in the season," he said. "But for us coming up on our first game, we're right where we need to be."
Blake Griffin looked as if he is ready to start the season, scoring 25 points on 10-for-13 shooting, five for six from the free-throw line. He also had 11 rebounds to help the Clippers finish the exhibition season at 5-3.
The Clippers, who led by as much as 21 points in the third, built a 17-point lead in the second quarter behind the strong play of their bench.
The second unit of Jamal Crawford, Ryan Hollins, Eric Bledsoe, Matt Barnes and Ronny Turiaf combined to score 27 of the Clippers' 33 second-quarter points.
"We've got a comfort level with each other," Crawford, who had 14 points off the bench, said about the reserves. "Everybody understands their role. Bledsoe is going to run the show out there.
"Ronny does all the things that doesn't get in the stat sheet. Matt is doing all the small things and knocking down shots and Ryan is playing big defensively and protecting us. And I'm kind of the scorer of the group. So we kind of all have our niche that we're comfortable with."
The Clippers finished the exhibition season with Lamar Odom (bone bruise left knee), Grant Hill (bone bruise right knee) and Chauncey Billups (recovering from left Achilles' tendon surgery) not playing against the Nuggets.
Upon hearing that David Stern plans to step down as the NBA commissioner on Feb. 1, 2014, after 30 years on the job, Clippers Coach Vinny Del Negro said Stern has been doing it for a long time.
"The league has gone through a lot of changes and a lot of positive things for a long time," Del Negro said. "A lot of it obviously has to do with his guidance and his leadership."...
The Clippers waived forward Trent Plaisted and guard Hank Thorns on Thursday. The Clippers have 16 players on their roster, needing to trim one more to meet the league maximum of 15 players.