DENVER (AP) — The Los Angeles Clippers managed to slow down the Denver Nuggets.
For a half.
"We still had momentum on our side, even though it wasn't with the fast tempo and the fast pace that we normally play at," Nuggets coach George Karl said after Denver raced to a 107-92 win over the surging Clippers on Thursday night.
The Nuggets rode 21 points from Ty Lawson and 20 from Danilo Gallinari to their 12th straight home win.
Seven Nuggets scored in double figures as Denver won its seventh straight overall and improved to 27-3 at home, tied with the Miami Heat for best in the NBA.
This win wasn't like all the others, though.
The Clippers kept them in check, heading into the locker room knotted at 49 at halftime, and the Nuggets were getting their points on mid-range jumpers and unlikely 3-pointers instead of the alley-oop dunks and fast-break layups they normally get.
In the end, their youth and fresh legs won out as they ran away with another win and snapped the Clippers' five-game road winning streak.
"They're a veteran deep team and we're a young deep team," Karl said. "At halftime I said, 'Don't get crazy. This is the first team in a while that's kind of slowed us down and confused us. You're not as bad as you think.'
"And fortunately, the 3-ball bailed us out. I know the film will show us some things that we're probably going to have to work on, but in the same sense, we still get 107 points and I think by creating a lot of our offense off good defensive plays."
The Clippers got 19 points from Matt Barnes and 17 from Blake Griffin, but L.A. was outscored by 10 in the third quarter and five more in the fourth.
"We just ran out of gas tonight," Barnes said.
The Nuggets won the season series 2-1, a tiebreaker that could come into play if Denver can catch the Clippers for the third seed in the Western Conference playoffs. Right now, the Nuggets are in fifth, behind Memphis.
"We're extremely dangerous, especially if we get home-court advantage," JaVale McGee said. "We're a great team. We work hard, we play hard. And the way we're playing right now, when we get to the playoffs, it's going to be amazing."
Before tip-off, Karl was asked about facing one of his favorite players, Chauncey Billups, his former point guard who was dragged into the Carmelo Anthony trade a couple years ago.
"I hope he has a good game," Karl said, "and I hope we win."
The Nuggets, who last won a dozen straight at home in 2005, got the best of Billups in his latest homecoming. He scored eight points.
Karl also said his goal was three-fold: to get fewer turnovers, keep Paul from going off and match the Clippers' 3-pointers.