L.A. Clippers 102, Denver 98
DENVER, Jan. 3 (Ticker) --
did not let a poor shooting
game affect his confidence.
Brunson buried a pivotal 3-pointer with 21 seconds to go and
registered seven of his season-high 18 points in the waning
seconds as the Los Angeles Clippers posted a 102-98 triumph over
the Denver Nuggets.
NBA TV highlights from |
Brunson, who has been filling in for the injured Marko Jaric
entered the contest averaging just 5.3 points. He was 4-of-11
from the field when he found himself open in the left corner and
the game in the balance. He calmly drained the 3-pointer for a
"I was going to take the big shot as long as the game stayed
close," Brunson said. "I wasn't sure if I was going to make it,
but I wanted to be the one to take it. It was a great pass by
Maggette to set up the 3-pointer. It is nice to know that the
guys have trust in me to take the shot."
The journeyman added four free throws in the final 10 seconds as
the Clippers (15-15) snapped a four-game road losing streak.
An eight-year veteran, Brunson fell one shy of his career high
set against the Los Angeles Lakers while with Portland on
February 4, 1998.
"He was clutch. He has been stepping up when we need him,"
Clippers forward Elton Brand
said of Brunson. "He's a veteran
and we are glad to have him out there. He has hit big shots and
is orchestrating our offense for us."
Los Angeles' Corey Maggette
, who added two free throws with 1.2
seconds remaining, finished with 33 points and 11 rebounds.
"We knew this game was going to be tough, especially with the
altitude," Maggette said. "We wanted to get back to .500."
scored 21 points and Nene added 20 for the
Nuggets, who fell to 4-12 against Western Conference opponents
this season. Denver (14-17) played without starters Marcus Camby
and Greg Buckner
The Nuggets, who have lost eight of nine, trailed by as many as
18 in the first half, before rallying.
"It is very difficult when you are playing from behind," Nuggets
interim coach Michael Cooper
said. "I'm proud of the team and
the way we played. Our defense gave us the opportunity to get
back in the game. We need time for our players to heal right
The Clippers, who used a 10-4 spurt to seize a 33-24 lead after
12 minutes, opened a 49-31 advantage with 5:42 left in the half.
Denver drew within 60-50 by the break but got back in the
contest in the third quarter.
Opening the quarter with a 9-2 spurt, Denver eventually took a
70-69 lead on the second of two free throws by Anthony with 2:42
to go in the period. The Nuggets still were clinging to an
88-84 advantage with 5:51 remaining in the contest when they
went cold from the field, going scoreless for more than 2 1/2
Two free throws by Nene
put the Nuggets on top, 92-91, but Mikki Moore
had a short hook to give the Clippers a one-point lead.
The Nuggets missed a couple of opportunities on the ensuing
possession, setting the stage for Brunson's clutch jumper.