Clippers 112, Nuggets 91

Forrest Lee, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

LOS ANGELES -- Guard Jamal Crawford scored 27 points and forward Blake Griffin had 24 points and 16 rebounds as the Los Angeles Clippers rolled to a 112-91 rout of the Denver Nuggets Saturday at Staples Center.
Crawford hit 10 of his 20 shots from the floor, including 6 of 12 from behind the arc, as the Clippers (19-9) captured their fourth consecutive win and dropped Denver (14-12) to its third straight defeat.
Clippers forward Matt Barnes and guard Darren Collison each scored 13 points, while point guard Chris Paul added 10 points and dished out 11 assists. Center DeAndre Jordan had 12 rebounds, seven points and three blocks.
Forward Wilson Chandler led the Nuggets with 19 points, all in the first half. Reserve center Timofey Mozgov scored 15 and grabbed eight rebounds. Point guard Ty Lawson, who still appeared to be fighting a case of the flu, added 13 points and six assists. Reserve guard Nate Robinson had 11 points.
The Nuggets lost forward Kenneth Faried less than four minutes into the contest with a sprained left ankle and it went downhill from there.
They experienced a poor shooting exhibition (29.2 percent on 14 of 48 attempts) as the Clippers, who hit 48.8 percent of their shots (20 of 41) and led by as much as 17, cruised to a 56-43 halftime lead behind 14 points from Griffin and 12 more from Crawford.
And just to put a topper on Denver's woes, Collison gathered a deflected pass and heaved it from near the top of the key for an off-balance bucket to beat the halftime horn.
Still, without the play of Chandler, who hit first-half points on 8-of-11 shooting before the break, it could have been worst.
The Nuggets showed a pulse after intermission, making a 9-2 run to open the third and pulling to within 58-52 after a dunk by Mozgov.
But the Clippers quickly countered it as Crawford, who scored 11 points in the quarter, sparked a 21-8 spurt from that point on for a 79-60 lead heading into the fourth.
NOTES: Attendance was a sell-out 19,129. ... Clippers F Matt Barnes returned after missing a month with a retinal tear in his left eye. ... Los Angeles G Jamal Crawford topped 14,000 points with a 3-pointer in the second quarter. ... Denver coach Brian Shaw made his first visit to LA as a head coach. "I've had some of my best memories and basketball moments in this city," said Shaw, a former assistant to Phil Jackson and a member of five Lakers championship teams, three as a player. "I spent 12 years here with the Lakers and so I'm very familiar with this building. Just makes me smile and feel good knowing that I was able to accomplish a lot here." Shaw and his club will face the Lakers again on Jan. 5. ... The Nuggets return home to play the Golden State Warriors on Monday night. ... The Clippers host the Minnesota Timberwolves on Sunday.

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