DENVER, Jan. 3 (Ticker) -- Rick Brunson 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.

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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 96-92 lead.

"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."

Carmelo Anthony 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 now."

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 minutes.

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.