NBA: Nuggets break Clippers’ winning streak

GRINDING HALT::In their first game in the new year, the Los Angeles Clippers tasted their first defeat since Nov. 26, while the Nuggets improved their home record to 10-1

Reuters and AP, New York

Thu, Jan 03, 2013 - Page 19

The Nuggets brought the Los Angeles Clippers’ franchise record 17-game winning streak to a halt on Tuesday with a 92-78 victory in Denver.

The Clippers (25-7), who went 16-0 last month to join the 1995-1996 San Antonio Spurs and 1971-1972 Los Angeles Lakers as the only teams to go a calendar month undefeated, stumbled into the new year absorbing their most lopsided loss of the season.

It was the Clippers’ first defeat since Nov. 26.

The winning run was the longest in the NBA since 2009, when the Boston Celtics strung together 19.

“What we accomplished is cool, but they didn’t care about that tonight,” Clippers guard Chris Paul told reporters. “We’re just upset about the loss, we didn’t care about the streak.”

Danilo Gallinari led Denver with 17 points, while Kenneth Faried contributed 14 and 11 rebounds. Andre Miller chipped in with 12 points and 12 assists as the Nuggets improved their home record to 10-1.

LA’s Blake Griffin scored 12 points and pulled in nine rebounds, but Paul (10) and DeAndre Jordan (11) were the only other Los Angeles starters to score in double figures.

Leading by two after the first quarter, the Nuggets went on a 7-0 run to open the second and led the sluggish Clippers 48-43 at the half.

Denver continued to pull away after the break, outscoring Los Angeles 27-16 in the third quarter to open up a 16-point cushion, then eased to a comfortable win.

TRAIL BLAZERS 105, KNICKS 100

In New York, the Portland Trail Blazers overcame Carmelo Anthony’s 45 points and spoiled Amare Stoudemire’s season debut, beating the New York Knicks 105-100 on Tuesday night.

Nicolas Batum scored 26 points for Portland and Damian Lillard had 21 points, six assists and five rebounds. LaMarcus Aldridge finished with 19 points and 14 rebounds.

Stoudemire had six points on 3-of-8 shooting and one rebound in 17 minutes off the bench in his return from knee surgery. Anthony shot 14 of 24 and nearly led the Knicks back from 19 points down after missing two games with a knee injury, but the Trail Blazers had too many options.

J.J. Hickson scored all of his 18 points in the first half as Portland won for the third time in four games.

Anthony had missed the previous two games with a hyperextended left knee. J.R. Smith had 28 points and 11 rebounds for the Knicks.

HAWKS 95, HORNETS 86

In New Orleans, Josh Smith scored 10 of his 23 points in the third quarter to lead Atlanta to the win.

Al Horford added 20 points, Kyle Korver had 14 and Zaza Pachulia 12 for the Hawks.

Hornets guard Eric Gordon, playing in his first home game this season, scored 11 points on 5-of-17 shooting. He made his season debut in a victory over Charlotte on Saturday after recovering from a knee injury.

Ryan Anderson scored 23 points and Greivis Vasquez added 17 for the Hornets. Vasquez also had 10 assists and nine rebounds.

The Hornets’ Anthony Davis struggled from the floor, making four of nine shots for nine points, but had 12 rebounds and blocked four shots.

MAVERICKS 103, WIZARDS 94

In Washington, Vince Carter scored 23 points, O.J. Mayo and Darren Collison had 15 apiece and the Mavericks snapped a six-game losing streak.

When the Wizards (4-25) took a 14-point lead early in the second quarter, Dallas, which had arrived in Washington in the midst of their longest skid in nearly 14 years, rallied. The Mavericks trailed by four at the half and outscored the Wizards 35-19 in the third to take an 83-71 lead.

Chris Kaman scored 12 points for Dallas, and Shawn Marion had 11 points and a season-high 14 rebounds.

Bradley Beal equaled a career high with 22 points for the Wizards.

PISTONS 103, KINGS 97

In Auburn Hills, Michigan, Greg Monroe had 18 points and 11 rebounds, and the Pistons held on for their first three-game winning streak of the season.

Sacramento cut a 16-point fourth-quarter deficit to one, and Detroit led 100-97 when Austin Daye made a three-pointer with the shot clock running down with 11.5 seconds left.

Detroit have won five of six, in large part because of terrific play from their reserves. The group scored 44 points on Tuesday despite losing Charlie Villanueva to a second-quarter ejection.

DeMarcus Cousins had 21 points and 14 rebounds for the Kings.

76ERS 103, LAKERS 99

In Los Angeles, Jrue Holiday had 26 points and 10 assists, and Evan Turner added 22 points and 13 rebounds to lead Philadelphia over Los Angeles.

The Lakers (15-16) have matched their worst start after 31 games since the 2002-2003 season, when they began defense of their third straight NBA title with a 12-19 record.

Kobe Bryant, who shifted from shooting guard to small forward five games ago in coach Mike D’Antoni’s redesigned rotation, led the Lakers with 36 points. Steve Nash added 12 points and 10 assists.

Down by nine with just under 3 minutes to play, the Lakers closed to 99-97 on Bryant’s three-pointer with 1 minute, 28 seconds left. Spencer Hawes responded with a 21-footer 16 seconds later and Holiday helped close it out on a driving dunk with 22.4 seconds on the clock.