Brand shot 9-of-17 from the floor in Monday's first-round clincher. (Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/Getty Images)
The Los Angeles Clippers notched one of the most important victories in franchise history Monday, beating the Denver Nuggets 101-83 to take the first-round series in five games. The Clippers will play second-round playoff hoops for the first time since 1975-76, when the Clippers were the Buffalo Braves and then-coach Jack Ramsey led his team over the Sixers in three games. It took them 30 years and three cities, but current coach Mike Dunleavy's squad got it done in impressive fashion behind a trio of 20-point efforts. Corey Maggette and Cuttino Mobley each scored 23, while Elton Brand, the Clippers' catalyst all season long, tallied 21 and 13 rebounds. Shaun Livingston did his part in Game 5, handing out 14 assists. Carmelo Anthony struggled from the floor for the Nuggets but managed 23 points. Andre Miller added 15 and eight assists. The Clippers will next play the winner of the Suns-Lakers series, which the Lakers lead 3-1.
Clippers' First Playoffs Since '97