Nuggets-Clippers Preview

The Associated Press

Playing at an unprecedented level, the Los Angeles Clippers keep taking the franchise further into uncharted territory.

The Denver Nuggets, however, would like to end their historic run while continuing their own recent surge.

The Clippers hope to celebrate a 14th consecutive win on Christmas Day when they host the Nuggets, who have won four of their last five contests.

Los Angeles (21-6) extended its franchise-record run and snapped a 10-game losing streak in Phoenix with a 103-77 rout Sunday. The Clippers have won by an average of 15.7 points during their streak, also setting a club record with six straight road wins.

"We're just taking care of business right now," forward Blake Griffin said. "To be honest, we're not really concerned with 'You haven't won here since then' or 'You haven't won this many games in a row.'"

Griffin has been one of the major catalysts, averaging 20.7 points while shooting 59.4 percent from the field in his last 11 games. He finished with 23 points on 8-of-12 shooting against the Suns, adding 11 rebounds and four steals.

Chris Paul had 17 points and 13 assists for his fifth double-double in six games. The All-Star point guard is 7 of 11 from 3-point range while grabbing 10 steals in his last two contests.

Paul averaged 24.3 points on 54.0 percent shooting - including 9 of 18 from beyond the arc - as the Clippers took three of four from the Nuggets last season.

"We know what they have in Chris Paul and how he makes all of the other players around him better," Denver forward Danilo Gallinari told his team's official website. "It will be a good challenge for us and we'll be ready for them."

Gallinari, the team's leader with 15.6 points per game, scored 12 in just 22 minutes Saturday night as the Nuggets rolled past Charlotte, 110-88.

Kosta Koufos, Kenneth Faried, Andre Iguodala and JaVale McGee combined for 60 points and shot 27 of 37 from the floor. The Nuggets, who lead the NBA in points in the paint per game (55.6), have put up the league's two highest single-game totals in that category this season in their last two games with 74 and 78.

They've averaged 109.3 points overall in their last four despite shooting just 26.6 percent from 3-point range.

"The pace has been getting better for us," coach George Karl said. "There seems to be a little more wear and tear on the other team as the game goes on. ... We want to keep it going."

It isn't likely to come easily against the Clippers, who have allowed the NBA's second-fewest points in the paint per game (36.7). Los Angeles has also matched a franchise record by holding eight straight opponents below 43.0 percent shooting.

The Clippers have buried opponents with their impressive depth, led by Sixth Man of the Year candidate Jamal Crawford, Matt Barnes and Eric Bledsoe.

Crawford, who had 22 points Sunday, leads the NBA in points per game off the bench with 16.3. The Clippers boast the league's highest-scoring reserves at 41.9 points per game.

The Nuggets (15-13) are expected to have guard Ty Lawson back after the team's second-leading scorer and top assist man left Saturday's game with a left Achilles strain.

Denver has lost four of five to the Clippers at Staples Center and is 0-3 all-time on the road on Christmas Day.

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