Crawford Scores 27 To Lead The Clippers Rout Over Nuggets
LOS ANGELES (AP) Jamal Crawford scored 27 points, hitting six 3-pointers, and the Los Angeles Clippers led all the way in beating the Denver Nuggets 112-91 Saturday night for their fourth consecutive victory.
Blake Griffin added 24 points and 16 rebounds, and Chris Paul had 10 points and 11 assists for the Clippers, who got Matt Barnes back after missing 16 games with an eye injury. DeAndre Jordan had 12 rebounds.
Wilson Chandler scored all of his 19 points in the first half and Timofey Mozgov had 15 points and nine rebounds for the Nuggets. They lost for the third straight game and the third time in their last five. Ty Lawson added 13 points as Denver was held to 35 percent shooting.
Nuggets starter Kenneth Faried rolled his left ankle at 8:45 of the first quarter and didn’t return.
The Clippers made 13 3-pointers, improving to 21-2 since the start of last season when they make at least 11. They hit five 3s in the third, including three by Crawford, who had 11 points in the quarter.
Griffin went coast-to-coast for a dunk in the third, when Los Angeles stretched its lead to 79-60.
He and the other starters got some rest to start the fourth before Griffin, Crawford, Paul and Jared Dudley returned midway through. Griffin made four straight free throws and Crawford scored to restore the Clippers’ lead to 20 points with under five minutes to go.
Barnes played for the first time since undergoing three procedures to repair a torn retina in his left eye. He wore goggles to protect the eye that was injured on Nov. 18 when Memphis’ Zach Randolph inadvertently hit Barnes in the eye. Barnes finished with 13 points, including three 3s.
Griffin provided two highlights in the second. He dribbled the length of the court, drawing oohs from the crowd as he went behind his back three times before doing a 360-degree spin and hitting a layup. It didn’t count, though, when Lawson was called for a foul. Griffin made 1 of 2 free throws to give the Clippers their largest lead of the half, 44-27.
Barnes missed and Griffin flew in and slammed the ball down for the one-handed putback that kept the Clippers ahead by 11.
Darren Collison got in on the act, too. Barnes tipped the ball as the Nuggets inbounded and Collison tossed up a 22-foot desperation heave that went in at the buzzer, keeping the Clippers ahead 56-43 at halftime. Collison scored 13 points.
NOTES: Nuggets F Jordan Hamilton returned after serving a one-game suspension for throwing a punch in Tuesday’s loss to Oklahoma City. … Clippers G J.J. Redick is expected to get the cast off his right hand early next week. He’s recovering from a broken hand and torn ligaments in his wrist. … The Nuggets fell to 1-4 in the second half of a back-to-back set. They were beaten by Phoenix on Friday.