95 - 103 Final
  for this game

Paul leads Clippers past Nuggets

Feb 23, 2012 - 6:53 AM Los Angeles, CA (Sports Network) - Chris Paul had a season-high 36 points to go along with nine assists as the Los Angeles Clippers pulled away in the fourth quarter to down the Denver Nuggets, 103-95, at Staples Center.

Blake Griffin added 27 points, 12 rebounds and five assists for the Clippers, who snapped a two-game losing streak as they head into the All-Star break.

"We wanted to get that bad taste out of our mouth from dropping the last two [games]," said Griffin. "We did a good job defensively in the fourth quarter. We wanted to go into the break on the right foot."

Arron Afflalo paced the Nuggets with 20 points, while Jordan Hamilton added a career-high 18 points for Denver, which has dropped 11 of its last 15 games.

Los Angeles held a slight, 80-79, advantage entering the fourth quarter and opened the frame with a 9-4 spurt to take an 89-83 advantage.

Denver answered with eight straight points to take a two-point lead with 6:47 left in the game, but the Nuggets would not make another shot from the floor.

The Clippers took full advantage of the Nuggets' offensive woes, closing the game with a 14-4 swing to run away with the victory.

"They made shots at the right time and we missed shots. They rebounded and we just couldn't put the ball in the basket," Nuggets guard Andre Miller said.

Los Angeles held a pair of five-point leads and Denver lead by as much as three on two separate occasions in a back-and-forth first quarter that had seven lead changes, four ties and ended with the score tied at 27.

Denver opened the second quarter with a 7-2 run to jump out to its largest lead of the contest so far, 34-29.

Los Angeles, though, responded with a 6-2 swing to retake the lead, and neither team took a lead larger than four points for the remainder of the half. Arron Afflalo's trey within the final 30 seconds gave the Nuggets a 54-52 advantage at the break.

The back-and-forth affair continued in the third quarter, which saw seven lead changes and seven ties.

After a short Paul jumper knotted the game at 63, Denver used a 6-2 spurt to take the largest advantage of the frame, 69-64, with 5 1/2 minutes left.

But Griffin and Paul combined to scored the Clippers' next 12 points in a 12-4 run to put LA on top, 76-73. The team's traded buckets for the rest of the third and the Clippers carried an 80-79 lead into the fourth after Kosta Koufos failed to tie the game in the closing seconds when he went 1-for-2 at the foul line.

Game Notes

Denver hosts the San Antonio Spurs on Thursday for its last game before the All-Star break...The Nuggets were playing without leading scorer Danilo Gallinari (left ankle) and their top rebounder Nene (left calf strain)...The game had a total of 23 lead changes and 16 ties...Denver held a 21-11 advantage in second-chance points.