L.A. Clippers 100, Denver 86
DENVER, April 29 (Ticker) --
The Denver Nuggets had a chance to draw even
in their Western Conference first-round series, but the Los
Angeles Clippers put an emphatic end to those dreams.
scored 19 points and Shaun Livingston
16 and six assists off the bench to help as the Clippers posted
a 100-86 victory over the Nuggets to take a 3-1 series lead.
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All-Star Elton Brand
, Sam Cassell
and Cuttino Mobley
11 points for sixth-seeded Los Angeles, which shot 49 percent
(37-of-75) from the field and moved within one win of its first
playoff series triumph since 1976, when the franchise was known
as the Buffalo Braves.
"This is great for our organization," said Maggette, who made
11-of-12 free throws. "We're just going to go home and be in
front of our fans. This is a great opportunity for us to past
this and move onto the next round."
Los Angeles can wrap up the series at home in Game Five on
Monday. "We have to go home and close this series out," Los Angeles
coach Mike Dunleavy
said. "We need to continue to do the good
things we've been doing."
The Clippers built 52-40 edge when Maggette and Livingston
drained consecutive jumpers with 3 1/2 minutes remaining in the
second quarter and held a 56-45 bulge at the break by limiting
the third-seeded Nuggets to just 1-of-10 shooting from the arc.
"I didn't think we played a playoff basketball game in the first
half," Nuggets coach George Karl
said. "We're searching almost
every game for our confidence. Now you play it like an NCAA
tournament game. We cannot lose one more time."
, who scored 17 points, made 1-of-2 free throws
eight minutes into the second half to cut the deficit to 67-58,
but Denver got no closer as Los Angeles bridged the quarters
with an 18-7 surge to open a commanding 87-65 advantage with
just a little more than 10 minutes remaining.
"This one really hurts to lose on our home court the way we did
tonight," said Anthony, who made just 5-of-17 shots. "It was
just embarrassing. I really think we gave up. I'm not
disappointed in my own game. I can't play against two or three
guys out there on the court."
The Clippers got 47 points from their reserves.
"Our bench came in and did a great job," Dunleavy said. "There
was a lot of balance to our scoring and good ball movement."
Once again the Nuggets struggled from the arc, going just
5-of-22 in Game Four. They are shooting a dismal 20 percent
(11-of-55) of their 3-pointers for the series.
and Andre Miller
scored 14 points apiece and Earl Boykins
added 11 for Denver, which shot 41 percent (35-of-84)
overall and scored 40 points in the paint.
"We were given a lot of open looks," Anthony said. "You can't
beat a team like the Clippers when you shoot poor as a team."