DENVER – The Los Angeles Clippers knew this one wouldn’t be easy.
They weren’t fooled by their season-high 11-game winning streak and the Denver Nuggets' 29-37 record. They knew playing the second night of a back-to-back set in the Mile High City was never going to be easy, regardless of the numbers.
That was certainly the case Monday night as the Nuggets beat the Clippers 110-100, snapping Los Angeles' streak and handing the Clippers their first loss in nearly a month.
How it happened: There were 17 lead changes and 19 ties in the game, but it was an ugly one for the Clippers, marred by 16 turnovers that resulted in 21 points for the Nuggets. In the end, the Nuggets finally pulled away for the victory and beat the Clippers for the second time this season in Denver.
What it means: It means that the Clippers tasted defeat for the first time since falling at Memphis on Feb. 21. Even with the loss, the Clippers still hold a two-game lead -- three, really, as the Clippers hold the tiebreaker of having won the teams' season series -- over the Houston Rockets for the third seed in the Western Conference. The Clippers are still just two games back of the No. 2 seed.
Hits: Blake Griffin had 26 points and 12 rebounds and has now scored at least 20 points in a franchise-record 27 consecutive games, which is the second-longest streak in the NBA this season. Chris Paul had 29 points and seven assists and DeAndre Jordan had eight points and 11 rebounds.
Misses: The Clippers were without Darren Collison, Jamal Crawford and J.J. Redick so it was only natural for the depth to take a hit, but the bench's output was once again lacking. Danny Granger and Reggie Bullock had their moments, but they combined to go just 7-for-21 from the field. As a whole, the bench went 9-for-27.
Stat of the game: The Nuggets outrebounded the Clippers 55-43 and outscored them 54-44 in the paint.
Up next: The Clippers don’t play again until Saturday night against the visiting Detroit Pistons. It’s a rare four-day break toward the end of the season, one during which the Clippers can recuperate but also get a couple of practices in, considering that they rarely practice as it is. The Clippers beat the Pistons 112-103 in Detroit in their first meeting of the season.