DENVER (AP) -- The Denver Nuggets tried to pull away several
times late in regulation and in overtime.
Quentin Richardson wouldn't let them.
Richardson hit a 3-pointer with 5.5 seconds left and scored six
of his 23 points in overtime, lifting the Los Angeles Clippers to a
104-102 win over Denver on Friday night.
"We let Quentin roll," said Corey Maggette, who had 29 points
and 10 rebounds for the Clippers. "He went down there and made
some big post-up shots. He was the guy that we needed. He does it
for us every night."
Denver rookie Carmelo Anthony scored 30 points, most of those coming
early and late. He had 14 points on 4-of-6 shooting in the first
quarter, but was 2-for-11 the next three after Los Angeles started
Anthony found his shot again in overtime, hitting three
3-pointers and an off-balance jumper to finish with 11 in the extra
period. He also had five rebounds and four assists.
"I don't know what happened," Anthony said. "I hit my first 3
and that gave me a little confidence. In the overtime, once I hit
my first shot and hit the second one, I felt pretty good."
So did Richardson.
He sent the game into overtime with a 3-pointer from the corner,
saying something to Denver's bench and slapping his rearend as if
riding a horse as he backed down the court.
In overtime, Richardson answered Anthony's first 3-pointer with
a shot in the lane, then scored on a scoop shot after Anthony's
leaning jumper put the Nuggets up 96-92.
He added another shot in the lane to tie it 96-all.
"Quentin has the ability to shoot the ball well from the 3, and
he had touches," Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy said.
Maggette followed Richardson's final shot with a breakaway dunk
with 58 seconds left, then Jaric made it 100-96 with a driving
layup after Anthony was called for palming.
Anthony missed a 3-pointer on Denver's next trip, but Jon Barry
grabbed the rebound and kicked it out to Anthony for 3 that made it
100-99. Denver called timeout after Melvin Ely made one free throw
with 16 seconds left, but Earl Boykins took matters into his own
hands and launched a 27-foot jump shot.
It missed, and Maggette streaked to the other end to put the
Clippers up 103-99 with 5.3 seconds left.
"It seemed like it was pulling teeth out there," said Nuggets
coach Jeff Bzdelik, who could only shake his head as he watched
Maggette go in for the dunk.
But it still wasn't over.
Andre Miller hit a 3-pointer from the corner with 3.5 seconds
left to cut Los Angeles' lead to one, then Maggette hit one of two
free throws with 2.7 seconds left. Denver got the ball to Boykins,
but his desperation shot from midcourt wasn't close.
"At least it was an exciting game," Dunleavy said.
Los Angeles trailed by six early in the fourth quarter before
going on an 11-1 run, capped by Richardson's dunk that put the
Clippers up 81-77.
Denver went back up by four, but Predrag Drobnjak cut the lead
to 87-85 on a running hook. Boykins followed with two free throws
with 17 seconds left, but the second was waived off after Nene was
called for a lane violation.
Denver had a final chance after Richardson's 3-pointer, but
Boykins' off-balance shot hit the side of the backboard.
"There were a bunch of mistakes down toward the end of the
game," Miller said. "A violation, a few turnovers and a wide-open
3-point shot that sent the game into overtime. We didn't come out
from the start like we wanted to win the game."
Game Notes: Richardson scored on a no-look shot over his head in the
second quarter. ... The Clippers had seven steals in the second
quarter. ... Maggette hit all six of his shots and had 17 points in
the first half. ... Miller had 13 points and eight assists in his
first game against his former team. ... Los Angeles has won four
straight over Denver.