Clippers' 11-game streak ends when Nuggets don't let them up for air

DENVER — The Clippers knew that coming to mile-high Denver for a back-to-back game would be a challenge even for the hottest team in the NBA.

The Clippers were not quite up to the task, and their 11-game winning streak ended in the thin air Monday night with a 110-100 loss to the Denver Nuggets at the Pepsi Center.

Chris Paul had 29 points, 20 in the first half. He also had seven assists, leaving him four away from 6,000 in his career.


Blake Griffin had 26 points and 12 rebounds. He was 12 for 12 from the free-throw line but only seven for 25 from the field.

"I thought we were tired," Griffin said. "But we can't use that as an excuse."

The Clippers, who played their third game in four days, showed signs of fatigue in the fourth quarter. They scored just 17 points in the period and shot 31.8% from the field.

They were outscored 14-2 over the final 4 minutes 42 seconds after taking a two-point lead, and they allowed the Nuggets to score 27 points in the fourth and shoot 55.6% from the field.

"We just didn't get stops," Paul said.

The Clippers had to play short-handed again when Darren Collison, who has been starting in place of Jamal Crawford (strained left calf) and J.J. Redick (bulging disk), missed his second consecutive game with a stomach virus.

Willie Green started in place of Collison again, but he injured his right ankle in the fourth quarter and had to get it re-taped, though he was available to return.

The Clippers suffered their fourth straight loss in Denver, and 13th in their last 15 games here, mainly because the Nuggets had six players score in double figures, led by J.J. Hickson, who had 21 points and 11 rebounds off the bench.

Still, the Clippers took a 98-96 lead when Paul drove and was fouled. But he missed the free throw.

"I think one of the big plays was I got fouled on that and-one and I missed free throw to go up three," Paul said.

The Nuggets came down and Ty Lawson (19 points) made a three-pointer. Then Lawson converted a three-point play after he was fouled by Reggie Bullock, giving the Nuggets a 102-98 lead.

DeAndre Jordan scored on a dunk, but the Clippers couldn't get a stop.

Hickson scored and Lawson found Randy Foye for a three-pointer that gave the Nuggets a 107-100 lead with 2:35 left.

The Clippers quickly called a timeout.

Paul missed a shot and Bullock missed a three-point attempt and had a layup blocked by Foye.

Then the Clippers couldn't get a defensive rebound, letting Kenneth Faried (18 points, 16 rebounds) out-hustle them for the ball.

That led to two free throws by Lawson for a 109-100 Nuggets lead with 48.5 seconds left.

"This game is pretty much entirely on me," Griffin said. "I can't play that poorly and expect us to win."