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Nuggets Fight Off Clippers


After stunning the Utah Jazz two nights earlier, the Los Angeles Clippers returned to their losing ways against the Denver Nuggets.

Antonio McDyess had 24 points and 15 rebounds, and Chauncey Billups added a season-high 24 points as the Nuggets beat the Clippers 100-88 Monday night.

The Clippers routed the Jazz by 26 points on Saturday night, but they were lethargic against the Nuggets.

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  • "We came out not as aggressive as we did against Utah and they took advantage of it," said Clippers coach Chris Ford, whose team has an NBA-worst 3-25 record. "They outhustled us to loose balls, they were more physical than we were and got off to better place position than we did."

    Nick Van Exel scored 22 points and Danny Fortson had 15 rebounds for the Nuggets, who snapped a four-game losing streak.

    "I thought the Clippers have a very talented team when they play hard," Van Exel said. "They didn't seem to play hard tonight."

    Rodney Rogers had 17 points and Troy Hudson added 16 for the Clippers, who shot 37 percent from the field against a Denver team ranked next-to-last in the league in field-goal percentage defense.

    Rogers scored four straight points and Hudson hit a 3-pointer with 7:25 left as the Clippers pulled within 84-73. McDyess answered with a dunk and free throw, and Van Exel made a driving layup, free throw and 3-pointer over the next two minutes to put Denver ahead 93-73.

    "We exploited mismatches on offense," McDyess said. "We had good intensity and guys started making shots off the mismatches."

    Billups scored 11 points in the third quarter, including a 3-pointer at the buzzer that put Denver up 78-61. Los Angeles was 2-for-10 from the foul line in the period.

    Van Exel scored 11 points in the second quarter to help Denver take a 54-41 halftime lead.

    "Tonight as a big letdown," Los Angeles guard Eric Piatkowski said. "It was definitely a step backwards."

    Notes: Denver (8-22) didn't get its eighth win last year until its 67th game, when the team was 8-59. ... The Clippers matched a season high by making 19 free throws in the first half. ... Denver's Carl Herrera and LA's Maurice Taylor tangled briefly with 5:19 left in the fourth quarter. ... The game was played before a season-low crowd of 7,829. The previous low was 8,251 on March 15 against Vancouver.

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