Regular Season Series (Game 4 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

Clippers 80

(27-44, 9-27 away)

Nuggets 102


    Coverage: FSRM

    7:00 PM ET, March 22, 2004

    Pepsi Center, Denver, CO

    1 2 3 4 T
    LAC 15 30 20 1580
    DEN 31 22 22 27102

    Top Performers

    Los Angeles: P. Drobnjak 24 Pts, 6 Reb, 3 Ast, 2 Stl, 1 Blk

    Denver: J. Barry 12 Pts, 5 Reb, 8 Ast, 2 Stl

    Denver very much in playoff chase

    DENVER (AP) -- The Denver Nuggets were in need of a win.

    The injury-riddled Los Angeles Clippers were more than happy to oblige.

    Carmelo Anthony had 22 points to lead six Denver players in double figures, helping the Nuggets end a three-game losing streak with a 102-80 win over the Clippers Monday night.

    Denver dropped out of the top eight in the Western Conference with a 21-point loss to Minnesota on Sunday. The Nuggets moved back ahead of idle Utah with good shooting and one of their best defensive performances in a month.

    "We're in this thing despite what's happened the past couple of weeks," Nuggets guard Jon Barry said. "If you said that we'd be right here with 10 games to go with a chance to get in the playoffs, I think everybody would take it. So forget about the last two weeks."

    Denver's struggles over the past month have come from poor execution on defense, which has hampered its running game.

    The Nuggets had the defensive part right, holding the Clippers to 36 percent shooting, but weren't able to get their up-tempo game working much in the middle two quarters. It didn't matter.

    Denver worked its half-court offense well, swinging the ball around the perimeter and passing out of the post to get open shots. The Nuggets took a 16-point lead in the first quarter and shot 50 percent overall to turn back several Los Angeles runs for its fifth win in 17 games.

    "Solid win. Obviously, a win we needed very badly," Nuggets coach Jeff Bzdelik said. "We were much better tonight."

    The Clippers couldn't get much of anything going after losing to Golden State the day before. Los Angeles had just one player score in double figures and couldn't get any closer than six points after falling behind big early.

    The Clippers have lost four straight and 12 of 14.

    "We were down by six at one point and then we missed a couple of chippy shots, we let them get behind us defensively," Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy said. "A couple of scores, a couple of miscommunications, a couple of 3s and the next thing you know we were pretty much out of it."

    Los Angeles had Quentin Richardson back after he missed two games with back spasms, but they still were without Corey Maggette (knee), Chris Wilcox (Achilles') Marko Jaric (toe).

    The Clippers struggled from the start without three of their top five scorers, fumbling away passes and hitting the side of the backboard with shots in the first quarter. The Clippers finished the quarter 5-of-19 with six turnovers.

    They weren't any better on defense. Denver shot 12-of-18 and led 31-15.

    "I thought we lost the game with a bad start," Dunleavy said.

    Denver opened the second quarter with six straight misses and Predrag Drobnjak hit three straight jumpers at the other end to cut the lead to 31-21. Earl Boykins and Barry took care of that run with consecutive 3-pointers midway through that put Denver up 45-29.

    Drobnjak kept it going, scoring 16 points in the quarter to help the Clippers cut the lead to 53-45 by halftime. The reserve finished with a season-high 24 points on 8-of-10 shooting, but Los Angeles' starters were a combined 8-for-30.

    "Drobnjak gave us a great lift off the bench," Dunleavy said. "He is the only guy that really had a good game for us."

    Anthony didn't shoot it great, but it was still better than the 6-for-22 game he had against the Timberwolves the day before. He finished 6-for-15, including an emphatic dunk over Chris Kaman that started a game-clinching 11-1 run to open the third quarter.

    "We were in the ninth spot. That was a wake up call for us," Anthony said. "So now we could go back to play like we used to play."

    Richardson never got it going. He finished with six points on 1-of-11 shooting and maybe should have waited another game to come back.

    "He probably wasn't ready," Dunleavy said.

    Game notes

    Syracuse and coach Jim Boeheim attended the game after winning in the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament in Denver over the weekend. Anthony led the Orangemen to the school's first national championship last year. ... Denver C Marcus Camby played in his 64th game, a new career high, but sat out the second half because of a sore groin. ... Barry jumped over a row of fans trying to save a loose ball in the fourth quarter, then saved a beer after bumping into a waitress. ... Both coaches came onto the floor midway through the fourth quarter after Los Angeles' Matt Barnes grabbed Anthony by the waist and threw him to the floor. Anthony tried to go after Barnes, who was called for a flagrant foul, but he was held back by teammates.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 80 102
    FGM-FGA 26-73 (.356) 40-79 (.506)
    3PM-3PA 1-4 (.250) 6-11 (.545)
    FTM-FTA 27-30 (.900) 16-22 (.727)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 17-43 13-36
    Assists 16 27
    Turnovers 22 15
    Steals 6 7
    Blocks 4 8
    Fast Break Points 2 12
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 23 (1/1) 24 (2/0)

    Top Performers

    Los Angeles
    Predrag Drobnjak Drobnjak
    Points: 24
    Reb: 6
    Ast: 3
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 1
    Jon Barry Barry
    Points: 12
    Reb: 5
    Ast: 8
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 0