LOS ANGELES (AP) — DeAndre Jordan had 16 points and 16 rebounds and the Los Angeles Clippers beat the Denver Nuggets 105-90 on Sunday to become the fourth Western Conference team to clinch a playoff spot.
Chris Paul added 14 points, six rebounds and nine assists, Jamal Crawford also had 14 points, Jeff Green and Wesley Johnson each added 13, and J.J. Redick had 12. The Clippers had a 25-8 edge in fast-break points.
Jusuf Nurkic had 19 points, and D.J. Augustin added 18 for Denver. Gary Harris finished with 11 points, Joffrey Lauvergne had 10, and Darrell Arthur grabbed 12 rebounds.
The Nuggets, 10th in the West with eight games remaining, fell 5 1/2 games behind the Utah Jazz and Houston Rockets in the race for the conference’s eighth and final playoff berth.
The Clippers never trailed and broke it open in the third quarter, outscoring Denver 25-12 to take a 77-60 lead into the fourth quarter.
The Nuggets made just 6 of 25 shots in the period, were outrebounded 15-9, while committing 5 turnovers.
Leading 56-52, the Clippers scored 15 of the game’s next 19 points, taking a 71-56 lead on Johnson’s layup with 3:03 left in the third quarter.
THRILL AT BOTH ENDS
Jordan brought out the loudest roar out of the Staples Center crowd in the third quarter, blocking a shot at the defensive end, then running the floor, taking a fast-break, over-the-shoulder, alley-oop pass from Paul and slamming it home with 9:14 left.
Jeff Green, playing with the first unit in the second quarter, scored seven consecutive points for the Clippers, and grabbed three rebounds, including two offensive, over a 2:36 span. Green was acquired from Memphis for Lance Stephenson on Feb. 18.
The game’s 12:30 p.m. start time apparently did not appeal to the Nuggets, who missed their first six shots, with a pair of turnovers thrown in, needed 3:47 seconds to get on the scoreboard.
Denver: Six of Denver’s 10 first-quarter baskets were 3-pointers. Kenneth Faried, who missed four games with lower back stiffness, and did not play Friday night against the Lakers (coach’s decision) was a game-time decision, according to Nuggets Coach Michael Malone. Faried did not play. The Nuggets defeated the Clippers 87-81 in their previous trip to Staples Center, a game that saw the Clippers shoot a season-high 46 3-pointers.
Los Angeles: The Clippers activated Blake Griffin prior to the game, and he began serving a four-game, team-imposed suspension for punching an assistant equipment manager in January.
Denver: Host Dallas on Monday night.
Los Angeles: Host Boston on Monday night.
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