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NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Saturday, March 5th (All times eastern)
Denver Nuggets (37-26) at Los Angeles Clippers (22-40), 10:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - Denver has been surprisingly competitive since trading away superstar Carmelo Anthony, and the Nuggets will try to keep the good times rolling in the shadow of Hollywood when they take on the Los Angeles Clippers.
The Nuggets won for the fifth time in six tries since dealing Anthony to New York on Thursday when Ty Lawson scored 23 points and hit several key free throws down the stretch, as Denver escaped EnergySolutions Arena with a 103-101 win over the Utah Jazz after Andrei Kirilenko missed a potential game- tying layup at the buzzer.
A Devin Harris three-pointer with 1.2 seconds remaining pulled the Jazz within two, and Kenyon Martin bobbled the inbound pass into the hands of Kirilenko, who took a dribble before pivoting toward the basket. The dribble allowed Martin to disrupt Kirilenko as he went up, causing the Russian to loose control of the ball as the buzzer sounded, sending Utah to a seventh straight home loss.
"[Martin's] hand was on the ball. It wasn't a foul, but just [a pretty good] play. I didn't really get the ball," recalled Kirilenko.
Arron Afflalo ended with 19 points, including a pivotal three-pointer in crunch time, while Nene and Chris Andersen both scored 13 points for Denver.
"We are pretty focused at both ends of the court," Denver coach George Karl said. "I think you're seeing a team that could be not only a good offensive team, it might become a special defensive team."
The Clippers, meanwhile, are also coming off a win Wednesday when Mo Williams finished with 17 points, including three free throws in the final 15 seconds, as LA edged the Rockets, 106-103, at Staples Center.
Williams gave Los Angeles a 104-100 advantage with the second of two from the line with 14.4 seconds left on the clock. After Chase Budinger connected on a long three-pointer inside the final 10 seconds, Williams made a pair from the line for a 106-103 lead. Budinger attempted a three at the buzzer, but the shot was far off target to end the game.
Eric Gordon led the Clippers with 24 points in his first game since missing significant time with a right wrist injury. Gordon last played on January 22.
"It felt good," Gordon said regarding his return. "I wasn't going to come back until I was ready and I was ready to play tonight."
Blake Griffin registered his 52nd double-double of the season with 20 points and 14 rebounds while Chris Kaman added 21 points and nine rebounds in a reserve role for LA, which snapped a five-game skid.
The Clips snapped a four-game skid to Denver with a 106-93 win at Staples Center on Jan. 5.
03/05 10:47:27 ET
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