Scolded and benched by his angry coach early in the game, Antonio McDyess turned his embarrassment into a productive evening.
McDyess had 23 points and 15 rebounds, and Raef LaFrentz scored 21, helping the Denver Nuggets snap a seven-game losing streak with a 114-87 victory Friday night over the Clippers.
McDyess, benched four minutes into the game by Coach Dan Issel for not playing defense, had all of his points after returning to the game late in the first quarter.
Lethargic on both ends of the court, McDyess, who had two of his shots blocked in the first three minutes, drew Issel’s ire as the players came to the bench during the game’s first timeout.
“Aren’t you going to run back on defense?” Issel asked.
When McDyess insisted he was doing his job, the coach said, “Then sit . . . down.”
After the game, Issel apologized, saying he didn’t realize that McDyess and LaFrentz had agreed to switch defensive assignments.
“I didn’t understand the problem out there,” Issel said. “LaFrentz later told me that McDyess called for the switch. I didn’t think we were getting back on defense. He [McDyess] vehemently disagreed. That’s OK. That’s good. That’s his choice.”
Maurice Taylor led the Clippers with 21 points.
Denver, leading 54-50 at intermission, shot 53% in the third quarter (while the Clippers were shooting 35%) to take an 87-73 lead into the final period.