Notebook: Clippers 112, Nuggets 100



Posted Dec 26, 2012 2:18 AM

By Dan Arritt, For NBA.com

THE FACTS: The reserves didn't wait until the fourth quarter to put this game away. Matt Barnes, Jamal Crawford, Lamar Odom and Ronny Turiaf came off the bench in the second quarter of the late Christmas Day game and immediately turned up the heat on the Nuggets. They each played key roles in the season-best 42-point outburst, which turned a one-point deficit at the start of the quarter into a 19-point halftime lead. That proved too wide a gap for Denver to overcome and the Clippers were able to cruise to a 112-100 victory at Staples Center.

THE STAT: The Clippers (22-6) extended their franchise-best winning streak to 14 games, beating 10 of those opponents by 12 points or more. Coupled with the Thunder's loss earlier in the day against Miami, L.A. now owns the best record in the NBA.

QUOTABLE: "It's nice, but it's Christmas and we have a long way to ... a lot of games to play and a lot of improving to do."

-- Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro

TURNING POINT: After eight ties and nine lead changes in the opening quarter, the Clippers took the lead for good, 30-29, on a 3-pointer by Barnes with 10:33 remaining in the first half. The Nuggets stayed within a basket until Odom, Chris Paul and Crawford combined for six consecutive points to push the lead to 45-36. That was just the beginning, as the bench combined for 28 of the 42 points in the quarter to eventually extend the lead to 67-48 at the half.

HOT: Crawford finished with a team-high 22 points, the 12th time this season he has scored 20 or more off the bench. Next on the list is Ramon Sessions of the Bobcats with seven. Barnes contributed 20 points, the eighth consecutive game he has scored in double figures. The Clippers are 16-0 this season when Barnes scores in double digits off the bench. Denver (15-14) center Kosta Koufos scored 16 points for the second consecutive game, making all eight of his field-goal attempts. Only one other time in his five-year career has the 7-footer scored in double digits in back-to-back games.

QUOTABLE II: "We had good bench production tonight, especially in that second quarter, and at the end of the third a little bit to withstand their run. Just a good, overall team effort."

--Vinny Del Negro.

NOT: Denver forward Danilo Gallinari shot 1-for-10 from the floor for the second time in the last three games and finished with seven points.

GOOD MOVE: Clippers guard Eric Bledsoe was part of the reserve group that finished off a couple games during the early part of the current winning streak. He came out for the second quarter with the rest of the bench players but played erratically, committing three turnovers in the first 4 1/2 minutes. Del Negro didn't show much patience, taking Bledsoe out of the game and inserting Paul. The Clippers followed with the 6-0 run that pushed the lead to nine and Denver never got any closer than seven the rest of the way. With the game in hand, Bledsoe returned to the court in the fourth quarter and played more effectively.

BAD MOVE: Denver reserve forward Corey Brewer probably should have gotten a similar quick hook from coach George Karl. In the 21 minutes Brewer was on the floor, the Nuggets were outscored by 29 points. Brewer missed all three of his field-goal attempts and grabbed just two rebounds, the same number back-up point guard Andre Miller secured while playing three additional minutes.

NOTABLE: The Clippers previous season high for points in a quarter was 35. The Clippers scored on 20 of 27 possessions in the second quarter, including the last 11. ... Odom had six points and eight rebounds in his first 12 minutes on the floor before finishing with six points and 10 rebounds in 31 minutes. ... Denver shot 50 percent from the floor, ending a streak of eight straight L.A. opponents that shot 43 percent or lower.

UP NEXT: For the Clippers, Thursday vs. Boston, Friday @ Utah, Sunday vs. Utah. For the Nuggets, Wednesday vs. Lakers, Friday @ Dallas, Saturday @ Memphis.