Clippers Rout Nuggets, Sweep Home-and-Home
L.A. Clippers 112, Denver 79
LOS ANGELES, Jan. 28 (Ticker) -- The Los Angeles Clippers continued to serve notice to the rest of the Western Conference that they are a force to be reckoned with.
Cuttino Mobley scored 19 points to pace six players in double figures as the Clippers routed the Denver Nuggets, 112-79, to complete a sweep of a home-and-home series.
"It's a confidence-booster," Mobley said. "We are playing well right now. Everybody's doing well."
With Saturday's victory, Los Angeles extended its winning streak to a season-best five games, the franchise's longest streak since winning five straight from November 25-December 1, 2004.
The Clippers kept pace with the 1974-75 Buffalo Braves for the best 41-game start in franchise history. Los Angeles also improved to 12-0 this season when holding its opponents to less than 90 points.
Elton Brand had 17 points, eight rebounds and a season-high eight assists while Sam Cassell also scored 17 points for the Clippers, who built a 59-41 halftime lead before cruising to a blowout in the second half.
"I don't know what it is - myself being aggressive, Sam or (Brand)," said Mobley, who joined Los Angeles with Cassell in the offseason to provide a stable veteran presence in the backcourt. "We have three guys clicking like that. I'm just trying to not score as much but have that flow again with assists, steals and blocks and kind of help the guys."
One of the league's premier defensive teams, Los Angeles completely smothered Denver over the last two nights. The Nuggets average over 100 points per game this season but were limited to a total of just 166 in the home-and-home series.
"This was a great two-game sweep," Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy said. "It's not an easy thing to do, play a good team back-to-back. We got two tremendous defensive efforts from our guys. To play that kind of defense on back-to-back nights is really impressive to me because I have high expectations for my guys."
Chris Kaman had 11 points and 15 rebounds for his second straight double-double, reserve Shaun Livingston chipped in 12 points and James Singleton 10 for the Clippers, who held a 44-31 edge on the glass.
"We are starting to jell together as a team more," Singleton said. "We're starting to get back to how we were earlier in the season."
The Clippers used a 15-4 run at the beginning of the second quarter to turn a five-point lead into a 17-point advantage in a span of just over five minutes. Kaman scored five points during the run and converted a free throw with 6:40 remaining in the half to push the lead to 44-27.
Los Angeles opened the third quarter with a 17-6 run over the first six minutes to push the lead to 76-47. Brand and Cassell each scored five points during the outburst and Kaman capped the surge with with a short jumper.
"We had to have good spacing and move the ball so that we could get good shots," Dunleavy said. "That's what it's all about. The key really was to get stops so that we can get the ball in the open court and get fast-break opportunities at the basket."
Carmelo Anthony scored 16 points on just 5-of-17 shooting for the Nuggets, who shot just 38 percent (59-of-157) over the dismal two-game set.
"This is not a disappointing loss at all," Denver coach George Karl said. "We got beat by a better basketball team right now. The Clippers are better than we are. When your offense and defense are struggling, I don't know which end to blame other than to congratulate LA."