Brand, Clippers Snap Nuggets’ Win Streak
L.A. Clippers 105 Denver 87
DENVER, Jan. 27 (Ticker) -- The Western Conference All-Star team may be loaded at the forward position, but Elton Brand continues to stake a claim to one of the spots.
Brand scored 33 points and pulled down 10 rebounds as the Clippers posted their fourth straight victory with a convincing 105-87 triumph over the Denver Nuggets, who had a season-high seven-game winning streak snapped.
"We went to Elton and he delivered," Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy said. "That is what he has been doing all year long. He can play a number of places on the floor and you saw that tonight."
On Friday, the Clippers thoroughly dominated the third quarter as they outscored the Nuggets, 24-12. Brand nearly outscored Denver by himself in the period, pouring in 11 points on 5-of-7 shooting.
"That was the most complete road win of the year," said Brand, who scored the Clippers' first 14 points of the game. "I was trying to set a tone for this game right from the start. Once they started doubling me, guys were open and I was able to share the rock. This was a good win for us."
Meanwhile, the Nuggets could not hit anything as they shot just 4-of-19 in the period to fall behind, 80-66, entering the fourth quarter.
"We had very poor shot selection and we didn't move the ball," Nuggets coach George Karl said. "This was a bad game both defensively and on offense. When we fell asleep on defense, Elton Brand really made us pay."
Denver did show some signs of life in the final period, opening with an 8-1 run behind a pair of 3-pointers by Greg Buckner. But Los Angeles responded with a 9-0 burst as Chris Kaman made a short hook and Sam Cassell drilled a wide-open 3-pointer before Brand made a tough turnaround jumper and a pair of free throws to restore order.
The Nuggets again made a mini-run, cutting their deficit to 92-80 with 5:05 left on back-to-back jumpers by Kenyon Martin. However, Brand answered with a pull-up jumper in the lane to restore a 14-point lead.
Brand got plenty of help from Cassell, who scored 15 of his 25 points in the second half. Kaman added 16 points and 13 rebounds for Los Angeles, which shot nearly 54 percent (41-of-76) in winning the front end of a home-and-home series.
"It was definitely a big win for us," Cassell said. "This was a game that we really needed. It would be sweet if we could get the win (Saturday), too."
Carmelo Anthony paced Denver with 25 points but managed just six after intermission. Martin contributed 16 and Earl Boykins 13 for the Nuggets, who shot under 36 percent (29-of-81) and were dominated, 47-32, on the glass.
"That was a bad game tonight," said Denver's Andre Miller, who shot just 3-of-11 for 10 points. "Elton came out and scored quick. Our plan was to play him straight up, and he was hitting his shots. We got back in transition but couldn't stop them from scoring."
Nuggets center Marcus Camby returned after missing six weeks with a broken right pinky. He pulled down 10 rebounds in 23 minutes but shot just 1-of-10 from the field.
"It felt good to be out there," Camby said. "I wish the outcome was different. Hopefully (Saturday) night we can contain Brand better. He was hot tonight."