|(NBA) Clippers lose to Nuggets, end streak
The high-flying Los Angeles Clippers failed to stretch their 17-game NBA winning streak into the New Year, slipping to defeat against the Denver Nuggets.
The Nuggets stopped the Clippers' impressive run with a 92-78 victory, handing Los Angeles their first defeat since they fell at home to New Orleans on November 26, AFP reports.
Danilo Gallinari scored 17 points and added six rebounds. Kenneth Faried scored 14 points with 11 rebounds for the Nuggets, who have won three of their past four games.
The Clippers came into the contest riding a club-record winning streak, their 107-96 victory over the Utah Jazz on Sunday making them just the third team in league history to go 16-0 in a single calendar month.
The streak was the longest in the NBA since the Boston Celtics won 19 straight from November 15-December 23 in 2008.
On Tuesday, however, the Clippers never led after the first quarter and coach Vinny Del Negro said his team was simply outplayed by the Nuggets.
"We just didn't score the basketball,'' said Del Negro, whose team shot just 38.5 percent from the floor and made just 13 of 29 free throw attempts.
Blake Griffin and Eric Bledsoe led the Clippers with 12 points apiece.
A close first quarter ended with the Nuggets leading 21-19. The hosts reeled off seven straight points to open the second and held a comfortable lead for much of the period, although Clippers reserve guard Jamal Crawford scored the last four points of the half to trim the deficit to 48-43.
The Nuggets closed the third quarter with a 10-1 scoring run. They took a 75-59 lead into the fourth, and the Clippers didn't get closer than 13 points in the final quarter.
"Give Denver credit -- I thought they outworked us,'' Del Negro said. "They were a step faster than us tonight.
"In games past, when we struggled to score we relied on our defence and tonight we didn't execute very well at either end.
"They played better than we did at both ends.''
The Clippers won't have much time to regroup, as they face the Golden State Warriors in Oakland on Wednesday.
They have a day off before a marquee match-up with their cross-town rivals the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday.