Nuggets hang on to beat Clippers 109-106
Dec. 20, 2014
DENVER (AP) — After the Denver Nuggets blew a big lead, Danilo Gallinari and Wilson Chandler were there to help bail them out.
Chandler and Gallinari hit successive 3-pointers late in the fourth quarter, and the Nuggets recovered after squandering a 16-point halftime lead to beat the Los Angeles Clippers 109-106 on Friday night.
"We definitely have to do a better job on that, not losing a 16-point lead, but a win is a win. We'll take it," Gallinari said.
Nate Robinson scored 20 points off the bench to lead the Nuggets, who snapped a three-game losing streak.
"I was glad we were able to regroup, get the game back in order and create a big enough lead for us to be able to hold on at the end," Denver coach Brian Shaw said.
Blake Griffin had his second 30-point performance in a row, finishing with 32 for the Clippers, who have dropped their last three games on the road.
Jamal Crawford added 20 points and Chris Paul had 17 points and 15 assists.
Trailing by 16 at halftime, the Clippers began the third quarter with a 16-0 run to pull into a 59-all tie on a driving layup by Matt Barnes. Denver missed its first 10 shots of the second half before Gallinari connected on a tiebreaking 3.
"Best third quarter we've had in a long time, but when you expend that much energy to get the lead, sometimes you don't have a lot left in the tank," Clippers coach Doc Rivers said.
Barnes came back to score on successive drives to the basket, triggering a 12-2 spurt that put the Clippers on top 71-64. Los Angeles took a 74-71 lead into the fourth quarter.
The Clippers, though, went cold at the start of the fourth as Denver scored nine straight points for an 80-74 advantage.
Things got heated between the teams after Kenneth Faried's hard foul on DeAndre Jordan with 8:19 remaining. Rivers, Jordan and Hedo Turkoglu were all hit with technicals, and Faried's foul was upgraded to a flagrant-1 following a review.
With 4:40 remaining, the Clippers pulled back into a 93-all tie on a pair of free throws by Griffin.
No more than two points separated the teams until Chandler and Gallinari hit back-to-back 3s for a 105-98 Denver lead with 2:02 left.
"They kind of came down, got a few foul (shots), got some baskets, so we definitely needed those baskets at the time," Chandler said.
J.J. Redick hit three free throws to pull the Clippers to 107-103 with a minute remaining, and Griffin made his first free throw to cut the margin to three with 12.6 seconds left. He missed the second and the Clippers chased down the long rebound, getting off three desperate shots from 3-point range. But they all missed, the last by Paul going off the rim.
"We should have pulled that out, so that's a tough loss for us," Paul said.
Despite committing 13 turnovers in the first half, the Nuggets opened a 59-43 lead, leaning on their outside shooting. Robinson came off the bench early in the second quarter to score 11 consecutive points in a 2-minute span, including three 3-pointers.
Clippers: Spencer Hawes missed the game because of a bruised left knee. ... The Clippers were called for five technical fouls. ... Jordan played in his 266th consecutive game, the longest active streak in the NBA. ... It was the first loss in seven games for the Clippers when Griffin scored 30 or more points.
Nuggets: Darrell Arthur was held out because of a lower left leg strain. ... Ty Lawson, with 10 points and 14 assists, has had a double-double in 11 of 14 games. ... The Nuggets scored a season-high 38 points in the fourth quarter.
Clippers: Host the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday night.
Nuggets: Host the Indiana Pacers on Saturday night.