Clippers 106, Nuggets 93
LOS ANGELES (AP)
Jordan's block party and the Clippers' smothering defense led to a 106-93 victory Wednesday night that snapped Denver's four-game winning streak.
Jordan finished with 14 points, tied a career high with 20 rebounds and had six blocks to help the Clippers halt a four-game skid against the Nuggets.
''I'm the anchor so everything that comes in there, if somebody gets beat, I have to be in there to block it, contest it or alter the shot,'' Jordan said.
Many of his blocks led to crowd-pleasing dunks on the other end.
''That's what we need from him,'' said Gordon, who scored 28 points, including four 3-pointers. ''When he gets that many rebounds and blocked shots, he just helps us overall.
''We get on the break and it's hard to stop us. We're a transition type of team so if we have a good tempo, everything will go our way.''
Blake Griffin had 22 points and 18 rebounds to tie a franchise record with his 22nd consecutive double-double. Los Angeles outrebounded the Nuggets 57-43 and committed only 12 turnovers.
''We did a good job of second-chance points and points in the paint,'' Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro said. ''I thought we were tighter defensively, we were able to prevent them from getting second-chance points and we were able to convert on the offensive end.''
Before the game, Nuggets coach George Karl noted how his team had a favorable schedule in January with winnable games on the road. But not much went right for Denver, which shot 37.5 percent.
''We weren't good at either end of the court,'' Karl said. ''Most nights this year we've had something going and tonight our defense wasn't good enough and our offense wasn't good enough.''
Billups made five of seven 3-pointers, including three in the second half to keep the Nuggets within striking distance.
After his 3 trimmed the Clippers' lead to 89-83 with 7:02 remaining, Los Angeles responded with consecutive 3-pointers from Gordon and Baron Davis to stay comfortably ahead.
''They were awesome tonight - not just Blake, everybody,'' Billups said. ''They all played good.''
In the previous meeting, the Nuggets shot an NBA season-high 59 free throws to beat the Clippers 109-104 on Dec. 3. This time, Denver made 25 of 31 free throws while the Clippers converted 18 of 27.
The Nuggets welcomed the return of forward Al Harrington, who missed the last four games with a dislocated right thumb. It marked the first time all season Denver had its entire roster healthy, but the team took another blow when backup point guard Ty Lawson sprained his left knee with 4:59 left in the second quarter and didn't return.
Lawson said it was a slight sprain and that he would try to play against Sacramento on Thursday night.
The Clippers led by as many as 15 in the first half.
The Nuggets trimmed the lead to 51-43 at the break after Billups scored six straight points, including a four-point play to end the half.
The Clippers snapped a 33-all tie in the second quarter with a 13-1 run capped by Jordan's two-handed, reverse alley-oop dunk in transition.
Griffin had his own highlight-reel play during that stretch, a thunderous, one-handed, alley-oop dunk off a feed from Davis that put Los Angeles ahead 40-34.
NOTES: Griffin will join Milwaukee point guard Brandon Jennings and big men JaVale McGee of Washington and Serge Ibaka of Oklahoma City in the Feb. 19 slam dunk contest at Staples Center during All-Star weekend, the NBA announced Wednesday. ... The Clippers had nine assists and shot 51.9 percent in the first quarter to take a 30-23 lead.