Crawford guides Clippers to rout of Nuggets
Los Angeles, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - Jamal Crawford poured in 27 points and Blake Griffin added 24 points and 16 rebounds to lead the Los Angeles Clippers to a 112-91 win over the Denver Nuggets at Staples Center.
Chris Paul recorded a double-double with 10 points and 11 assists, while Darren Collison and Matt Barnes finished with 13 points apiece for the Clippers, who improved to 4-0 since Crawford was inserted into the starting lineup.
Barnes returned to the lineup for the first time Nov. 18. He missed 16 games while recovering from surgery on his left eye to repair a torn retina.
"Our energy level to start the game was great. It is good to have Matt back. Matt brings energy and has a positive impact even if he doesn't score which is good for us," said Griffin.
Wilson Chandler scored 19 points and Timofey Mozgov donated 15 points and nine rebounds for the Nuggets, losers in three straight.
"We got thoroughly outplayed by a better team tonight. Our energy was bad. We're not in a good place right now," said Nuggets coach Brian Shaw.
Los Angeles led 19-9 following Jared Dudley's 3-pointer 5 1/2 minutes in. The teams traded baskets until Collison made it 28-17 and the Clippers led 28-18 at the end of the first.
Griffin split a pair of free throws at the 3:30 mark of the second to put the hosts ahead 44-27, but a 10-2 Denver run made it 46-37 just under two minutes later. The Clippers outscored the Nuggets 10-6 the rest of the way to take a 56-43 lead into the break.
Denver shot just 29.2 percent (14-for-48) in the first half.
The Nuggets had sliced their deficit to six points, 56-50, as J.J. Hickson buried a turnaround jumper, but LA closed the quarter on a 23-10 run to take a 79-60 lead into the final period.
The Clippers' lead never slipped below 14 over the final 12 minutes.
Denver forward Kenneth Faried rolled his left ankle at 8:45 of the first quarter and did not return to the game. X-rays on Faried's ankle came back negative and he is listed as day-to-day.
Los Angeles had 26 assists ... Crawford was 6-for-12 from 3-point range and finished 10-for-20 from the field ... The Nuggets committed 20 turnovers ... Denver was just 6-for-30 from long distance.
12/22 01:54:33 ET