NBA Game Summary - Denver at LA Clippers
(Thursday, November 2nd)
Final Score: LA Clippers 96, Denver 95
Los Angeles, CA (Sports Network) - Sam Cassell scored 35 points and hit the winning free throws with 12 seconds left, as the Los Angeles Clippers beat Denver, 96-95, in the Nuggets' season opener.
Denver star Carmelo Anthony had 15 points, but was ejected with 8:22 left in the third quarter after throwing his headband in the direction of official Tom Washington following the argument of a charging foul. It was Anthony's second technical foul. His first came in the opening minute of the third after arguing a foul call.
Tim Thomas poured in 21 points for the Clippers, who suffered a 112-104 loss Wednesday night at Phoenix.
"It's great to get a win when you're not playing great," Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy said. "Sam and Tim came up with some big shots. Their shot-making ability was great down the stretch."
J.R. Smith tallied 21 points for the Nuggets, who lost to the Clippers in five games in the Western Conference quarterfinals last season. Guard Andre Miller had a horrific night, going 0-for-11 from the field to finish with five points and seven assists. Marcus Camby picked up the slack with 16 points, 18 rebounds and four blocked shots.
Even without Anthony, Denver built a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter, but blew it.
A rainbow three-pointer by Thomas gave the Clippers a 94-93 lead with 36.9 seconds left. Miller then missed a layup, but after Cassell lost the ball in the backcourt, Smith jammed to give Denver a one-point edge with 18.2 seconds remaining.
Cassell complained he was bumped, but he got his revenge, being fouled by Yakhouba Diawara on a missed jumper with 12 seconds left. Cassell completed his 7-for-7 night at the foul line.
"It's a great win for us," Cassell. "We're not playing LA Clipper basketball right now, but it's coming. I dictate who gets the ball and Tim really came through tonight. He's not afraid to shoot the ball and he knocks them down."
Miller then had a shot blocked on a drive to the bucket, but the Nuggets retained possession with 6.4 seconds left. However, Earl Boykins' jumper in the closing seconds was partially blocked by Elton Brand.
The Clippers trailed 24-18 after one quarter. Denver scored eight straight points for a 46-45 lead, but the Nuggets trailed 49-48 at the half.
Anthony's first technical came 45 seconds into the third. After Brand dunked to give LA a 56-54 lead, Anthony drew his second technical. After being ejected, he ripped his shirt off in the tunnel leading to the locker room.
Despite Anthony's absence, the Nuggets rallied to grabbed a 70-65 lead going into the fourth.
The advantage stood at 82-72 with 6:57 left following a basket by Boykins.
Six straight points by the Clippers brought them within 86-83, with a free throw by Corey Maggette capping the spurt with 3:14 remaining.
Denver fell to 8-23 all-time in road openers...The Clippers have won their last four home openers...Los Angeles has won four in a row in the regular season versus Denver...Maggette had 13 points and seven rebounds...Boykins had 15 points and seven assists and Nene scored 10 for Denver, which shot 38.6 percent from the field...LA shot 42.7 percent.
11/03 02:15:01 ET