DENVER, April 27 (Ticker) -- With dispirited play and dissension conspiring to push their season to the brink, the Denver Nuggets desperately needed some help. They got it from the Los Angeles Clippers.

Carmelo Anthony scored 24 points and the Nuggets found enough energy for a 94-87 victory over the sloppy Clippers that allowed them to get back into their Western Conference first-round series.

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Neither team played well, but the Nuggets did enough to notch their first win of the series after dropping a pair of contests in Los Angeles. Denver won despite shooting under 38 percent (31-of-82) from the field - including 0-of-11 from the arc - and missing 14 free throws.

"Tonight we showed that you don't have to shoot great to still get the victory," said Nuggets guard Earl Boykins, who scored 13 points off the bench. "As long as you do all the other things on the court, you can be OK."

In their losses, the Nuggets averaged just 87 points as their running game was shut down. To make matters worse, forward Kenyon Martin was suspended indefinitely after Game Two for conduct detrimental to the team, a huge distraction in the postseason.

The Nuggets squandered a quick start and found themselves in a 70-70 tie entering the final period. But they never trailed thereafter, capitalizing on a multitude of mistakes by the Clippers.

"They were feisty and they are nasty," Los Angeles guard Sam Cassell said. "Even though we didn't match their intensity, we still had a chance to win the game."

Hampered by foul trouble the entire contest, the Clippers closed to 89-87 with 2:16 to play on a layup by Chris Kaman - his only basket of the game. On the next possession, Anthony - who made just 6-of-17 shots - overpowered Quinton Ross in the low post for a layup.

"We just kept our composure out there," Anthony said. "You have to keep shooting and eventually they will fall. It was an ugly win, but we will take what we can get."

Los Angeles did not score again as Shaun Livingston was called for charging and Corey Maggette missed a jumper. Boykins made a pair of free throws in the final minute to seal it.

Andre Miller scored 14 points, Greg Buckner added 13 and Marcus Camby 12 and 14 rebounds for the Nuggets, who host Game Four on Saturday.

Maggette scored 23 points, Cassell added 20 and Elton Brand 17 for the Clippers, who shot 40 percent (29-of-72) and committed 25 turnovers and 40 fouls. Brand and Livingston fouled out and Kaman, Maggette and Vladimir Radmanovic had five apiece.

"Maggette gave us a big lift off the bench," Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy said. "He was very positive for us. This was a different game than the two games in LA. It's hard to figure. We had 25 turnovers and still almost survived."

In all, the teams combined for 68 fouls, 40 turnovers and 23 missed free throws. Miller fouled a pair of 3-point shooters in the fourth quarter.

"It was (the Clippers') first road playoff game, so you have to give them some credit," Miller said. "We're an up-and-down team, so all those fouls slowed us down and the game. Hopefully with less fouls, we can build on leads when we get them."

Bruising forward Eduardo Najera started and provided the early energy Denver had been lacking in the first two games. The Nuggets scored the final seven points of the first quarter and opened a 24-13 lead.

"I thought Eddie was terrific tonight," Nuggets coach George Karl said. "I felt he was the MVP of the game. I still think we are rusty. The game on Saturday is going to be a lot more aggressive and physical than tonight."

Maggette scored nine points in a 13-0 burst that began the second period and gave the Clippers the lead. Despite 15 turnovers and three scoreless starters, LA trailed just 45-42 at halftime.

"They shot 46 free throws, that's a lot," Cassell said. "We didn't lose the game right there, they just played harder than us. They took it to us."