Clippers 112, Nuggets 79

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LOS ANGELES (AP)—After two tough nights in a row against the Los Angeles Clippers’ stingy defense, Carmelo Anthony is glad he won’t have to see them again until the first week in April.

The Clippers, led by tenacious rookie James Singleton, held the Denver Nuggets’ leading scorer to just 16 points Saturday night in a 112-79 rout of the Northwest Division leaders and a sweep of their home-and-home set.

On Friday, the Clippers handed Denver its most lopsided home loss of the season with a 105-87 victory. Singleton helped limit Anthony to 25 points that night—and only six in the second half. In the two games combined, Anthony shot 14-for-38 over a span of 73 minutes.

“The Clippers did a heck of a job packing it in on me, not letting me get to the basket like I wanted to and as I had been doing in the past,” Anthony said. “They sent every kind of defense a team can send at me these last two games. It got frustrating, especially when you’re trying to get back in the game and whatever you do is not working.”

Singleton enjoyed the challenge of trying to guard one of the NBA’s budding stars.

“Carmelo’s a big body and very skilled,” Singleton said. “We’re about the same size. He’s probably a little bit quicker on the offensive end, but I’m also quicker on the defensive end. So we kind of even out.

“I’m not going to say I completely stopped him, but I played good defense on him. Coach has a lot of confidence in me, and I try my best to go out there and not disappoint anybody.”

Cuttino Mobley scored 19 points, Elton Brand and Sam Cassell each had 17, and Los Angeles extended its winning streak to a season-best five straight.

Chris Kaman had 11 points and 15 rebounds for the Clippers, who shot 53.5 percent from the field and had six players in double figures. They won for the eighth time in 10 games and have reached the midway point of their schedule at 25-16, tying the 1974-75 Buffalo Braves for the best start in franchise history through 41 games.

The Nuggets had won seven straight and 11 of 13 before running into the Clippers, whose 33-point margin of victory was their biggest this season and second-largest ever against Denver. They beat the Nuggets 122-88 on April 11, 1992, at the L.A. Sports Arena.

Denver entered the game averaging just 12 turnovers in its previous eight contests, and the Clippers came in averaging a league-worst 11.3 points off turnovers. When it was over, the Clippers had forced 20 turnovers and converted them into 24 points.

“We haven’t double-teamed as much against a lot of teams. Therefore, what we do is try and keep people in front of us. And if we do a good job of it, the field goal percentage is down,” Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy said.

“Carmelo came into these two games averaging like 30 points for the month, and I was really worried about that matchup. So I tried to put a bigger guy on him—plus hit him with another big guy—and try to frustrate him and create bad shots and turnovers whenever we could.”

Brand, who scored the Clippers’ first 14 points in the win at Denver, had only eight points in the first half on 4-for-11 shooting. But the rest of the team was 21-for-34 from the field, with Mobley and Cassell combining for 26 points to help Los Angeles build a 59-41 lead at intermission.

The Clippers opened the third quarter with a 17-6 run that extended their 18-point halftime lead to 76-47 with 5:47 left in the period. Denver’s Earl Watson hit a running off-balance 3-pointer to beat the third-quarter buzzer, but all that did was prevent Los Angeles from taking a 31-point lead into the fourth.


The Nuggets, who came in with the fourth-worst shooting percentage from 3-point range, were 5-for-17 from behind the arc and shot 39.5 percent altogether. … The Clippers haven’t won more than five straight games since a six-game stretch March 18-31, 1992. Their longest winning streak since the move to Los Angeles was eight games, from Nov. 30-Dec. 15, 1991. … Los Angeles is 8-1 when shooting at least 50 percent from the field. … The Clippers have won 15 consecutive games when allowing fewer than 90 points, including 12 this season.

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 Top Performers
C. Anthony C. Anthony
5-17,  16 Pts
5 Rebs, 1 Assists
 LA Clippers
E. Brand E. Brand
6-16,  17 Pts
8 Rebs, 8 Assists

Team Stat Leaders