18-16
95 -
Team 1 2 3 4
DEN 27 27 25 16
LAC 27 25 28 23
103
20-11

Nuggets-Clippers Preview

AP - Sports

Injuries have hit the Denver Nuggets hard, coinciding with their recent struggles.

One of their few victories in the rough stretch came against the Los Angeles Clippers, who also aren't playing their best basketball of late.

Short-handed Denver visits Los Angeles on Wednesday night as the Clippers look to avoid the first three-game skid of the Chris Paul era.

The Nuggets have been without Danilo Gallinari (left ankle) since Feb. 8 and Nene (left calf strain) since Feb. 14, while key reserve Rudy Fernandez missed his second straight game Monday with a lower back strain.

Making matters worse, Ty Lawson left in the second quarter with a sprained left ankle and is day to day. Backup point guard Andre Miller was ejected in the third.

Denver persevered, though, as Al Harrington had a season-high 31 points off the bench and Arron Afflalo scored with 33.7 seconds remaining in a 103-101 overtime win over Minnesota.

The Nuggets (18-15) had lost 10 of 13.

"We needed this one," swingman Corey Brewer told the team's official website. "After the two tough losses we had, we had to get this one. We were able to get it. Now we have to build on it."

Coach George Karl said Nene may be back later in the week, while he expects Gallinari to return shortly after the All-Star break.

"Nobody said it was going to be easy," Harrington told the team's official website. "Nobody's going to feel sorry for us. Everybody just has to pull their weight a little bit more. When Andre got kicked out, I just told the guys – especially Arron – we've got to find a way to take over this game."

Denver did just that after falling behind by 13 points in the first quarter in the last meeting with the Clippers, charging back to win 112-91 on Feb. 2.

That ended a three-game losing streak to Los Angeles that included a 109-105 home loss Jan. 29.

The Clippers (19-11) had won six of eight following the most recent matchup with the Nuggets, but they've lost consecutive games for only the second time this season after falling 104-97 at Golden State on Monday.

Paul had a team-high 24 points and six assists while Blake Griffin finished with 21 points and nine rebounds. Los Angeles hadn't lost back-to-back contests since Dec. 28 and 30.

''This one hurt, and it should hurt,'' Griffin said. "... "We can't coast the whole game and expect to win at the end. We need to play with a better sense of urgency."

Griffin went 9 for 12 from the field for 18 points and Paul had 15 points and nine assists in the last meeting with the Nuggets. Denver got 18 points from Lawson and 15 from Afflalo in that contest.

Paul has averaged 22.8 points and 10.8 assists in his last 13 games against Denver, but Harrington is averaging only 6.0 points in his last five versus Los Angeles.

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