Clippers thrash Nuggets, lay claim to NBA’s best mark
LOS ANGELES – Jamal Crawford led a dominant performance by the Los Angeles reserves with 22 points and the Clippers defeated the Denver Nuggets 112-100 on Tuesday night, extending their franchise-record winning streak to 14 games.
Matt Barnes added 20 points — one off his season high — as the Clippers bench outscored its starters 64-48 in claiming the NBA’s best record at 22-6, one win better than Oklahoma City which lost to Miami earlier Tuesday.
Kosta Koufos and Jordan Hamilton scored 16 points each for Denver in the finale of a Christmas Day doubleheader at Staples Center. The Lakers, who will play the Nuggets tonight in Denver, beat the Knicks 100-94 in the first game.
Ty Lawson added 15 points for the Nuggets, who fell to 7-13 on the road, where 22 of their first 32 games are being played.
Crawford’s 3-pointer to open the fourth quarter pushed the Clippers’ lead to 20 points and kept the starters on the bench for the final 12 minutes. Coming into the game, their average margin of victory during the streak had been 13 points and they exceeded that when the Nuggets failed to make it close in the fourth.
Crawford scored eight points in the quarter. He leads the NBA’s reserves in scoring, and topped 20 points for the 12th time this season.
Chris Paul led Los Angeles’ starters with 14 points; Blake Griffin had 13; and Willie Green 11.
Denver rallied after halftime, using a 15-6 spurt to close to 73-63, capped by Andre Iguodala’s free throw after Paul received a technical foul.
The Clippers answered with three consecutive 3-pointers, including two by Green, for an 84-67 lead. The Nuggets ran off seven in a row to get within 10 before the Clippers regrouped with a 9-2 run, capped by Paul’s 3-pointer, that kept them ahead 93-76 heading into the fourth.
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