Regular Season Series (Game 3 of 4)

Series starts 11/7

Game 1: Friday, November 7th
Game 2: Saturday, November 29th
Game 3: Wednesday, December 31st
Game 4: Monday, March 22nd

Nuggets 104


Clippers 120

(13-15, 10-7 home)

    Coverage: FSRM

    6:30 PM ET, December 31, 2003

    STAPLES Center, Los Angeles, CA

    1 2 3 4 T
    DEN 23 33 25 23104
    LAC 27 25 32 36120

    Top Performers

    Den: A. Miller 18 Pts, 3 Reb, 9 Ast, 1 Stl, 1 Blk

    LAC: Q. Richardson 44 Pts, 10 Reb, 2 Ast, 2 Stl

    Richardson notches 44 points, 10 boards

    LOS ANGELES (AP) -- An old acquaintance wasn't forgotten on New Year's Eve at Staples Center, when an unforgiving crowd gave Denver point guard Andre Miller the Danny Ferry treatment and booed him every time he touched the ball.

    Quentin Richardson scored almost every time he touched the ball -- or so it seemed. He scored a career-high 44 points and Elton Brand had 20 points and nine rebounds in the Los Angeles Clippers' 120-104 victory over Denver on Wednesday night.

    "I was in a zone," said Richardson, who made a career-high 17 field goals on 30 shots and was 5-for-9 from 3-point range. "I felt like every shot I took was going in. You don't start feeling like you have the stroke until you start to make a lot more shots, but I had a sense I had it going when I made my first two bank shots."

    Richardson, whose previous best output was 36 points in a 103-91 loss at Minnesota on Nov. 22, scored 11 points in the fourth quarter -- including a three-point play and a 3-point shot in the final two minutes after the Nuggets cut it to nine.

    "When a guy is hot like that, there's nothing you can do about it. I don't care who you put on him," Denver rookie Carmelo Anthony said.

    Richardson's point total was the second-highest by a Clipper in either Los Angeles or San Diego. Charles Smith dropped 52 on the Nuggets on Dec. 1, 1990 in 137-121 win at Denver, back when the Nuggets were coached by fast-break disciple Paul Westhead.

    Richardson became the first Clipper to reach the 40-point mark since Dominique Wilkins had 42 against the Lakers on April 16, 1994, at the L.A. Sports Arena.

    "We were getting the ball into Q's hands and he took care of the rest," Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy said after his team put up its highest point total of the season. "We were just feeding him until he cooled. He had a strong post game and a strong 3-point game. he was making good decisions and good plays off the dribble."

    Voshon Lenard and Andre Miller each had 18 points for the Nuggets, who have lost eight of their last 10 against Los Angeles.

    Miller, who also had nine assists, sulked his way through his only season with the Clippers before signing a free agent contract with the Nuggets in August. But at least Miller didn't bolt for Italy the way Ferry did when the Clippers made him the second overall pick in the 1989 draft.

    Anthony, who entered with a team-high 18.7 scoring average, was plagued all night by foul trouble and finished with 12 points in 22 minutes.

    "Tonight was just one of those nights," said Anthony, the fourth overall pick in the draft. "When you get in early foul trouble, it's hard to stay mentally focused the rest of the game."

    The Clippers opened the fourth quarter with a three-point lead and extended it to 95-85 with 8:43 remaining on a three-point play by Corey Maggette, who had 20 points. The Nuggets never got closer than seven on an alley-oop feed from Miller to Anthony with 7:40 left, as the Clippers ran off the next seven points.

    The Clippers opened the third quarter with a 20-6 run. Rookie center Chris Kaman capped the rally with a reverse layup in heavy traffic with five minutes left in the quarter, after Marko Jaric drove the lane and dished off to him at the last instant. The Nuggets closed to 84-81 by the end of the quarter on a dunk by Chris Andersen with a second left.

    Denver led 56-52 at halftime despite giving up 24 points by Richardson and getting outrebounded 26-11.

    Anthony, who had 30 points against the Clippers in an overtime loss on Nov. 7 at Denver, was on the bench during a 9:56 stretch of the first half after picking up two fouls with the game less than six minutes old.

    Richardson seized the moment, scoring 12 points in the final 3:50 of the first quarter and fueling a 16-6 run that turned a four-point Clippers deficit into a 27-23 lead. But the Nuggets responded in the second quarter with a 15-4 spurt, capped by a 3-pointer from Lenard that gave them a 40-35 lead.

    Anthony who has fouled out in only one of his first 32 games in the NBA, picked up his next two fouls less than three minutes apart early in the third quarter and did not return until 8:58 remained in the contest.

    "He had a tough night, but he's going to have those nights. You just have to pick him up as a team and we didn't do that," teammate Jeff Trepagnier said.

    Game Notes: Denver's Marcus Camby was scratched because of a strained left groin. ... The Clippers finished 2003 with a 28-51 record. It's the 10th time they won fewer than 30 games in a calendar year since moving from San Diego to Los Angeles in 1994. Their only year since then with a winning record was 1992 (44-34). ... Clippers C Predrag Drobjnak, who missed the previous six games because of back spasms, was activated from the injured list before the game but did not play.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 104 120
    FGM-FGA 40-81 (.494) 46-89 (.517)
    3PM-3PA 5-15 (.333) 6-11 (.545)
    FTM-FTA 19-23 (.826) 22-31 (.710)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 4-30 15-46
    Assists 23 29
    Turnovers 15 11
    Steals 7 9
    Blocks 6 5
    Fast Break Points 6 3
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 29 (0/0) 23 (2/0)

    Top Performers

    Los Angeles
    Andre Miller Miller
    Points: 18
    Reb: 3
    Ast: 9
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 1
    Quentin Richardson Richardson
    Points: 44
    Reb: 10
    Ast: 2
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 0