(Sports Network) - What a difference an unblemished month makes.
The white-hot Los Angeles Clippers know that all too well and look to open the
new year the way they left off 2012 when they visit the Denver Nuggets Tuesday
night at the Pepsi Center.
The Clippers have won a franchise-best 17 games in a row, last tasting defeat
Nov. 26 versus New Orleans, and went a perfect 16-0 in December. Only the
third team in NBA history to complete a calendar month with a record
of 16-0, the Clippers registered a home-and-home sweep of the Utah Jazz with a
107-96 victory on Sunday.
Caron Butler led the way with 29 points on 10-of-14 shooting and both Chris
Paul and Jamal Crawford added 19 points for Los Angeles, which shot 50 percent
from the floor and sank 8-of-18 3-pointers. Butler helped the cause beyond the
arc by making all six of his 3-point attempts and has made seven straight 3-
pointers in his last five quarters. Former Clipper Quentin Richardson made 10
consecutive from downtown to hold the record.
Utah never got closer than four points in the last few minutes of the game and
was held to 41.3 percent shooting.
"We don't talk about it, it just happens," Clippers forward Blake Griffin said
of the streak. "It's a tribute to everybody. It's unreal how many different
ways we've won."
Griffin was held to seven points and grabbed seven rebounds for a Clippers
squad that is sixth in the NBA with 102.4 ppg and fourth in defense, allowing
92.3 ppg. The Clips are averaging 104.7 ppg during the winning streak, while
opponents are posting 89.5 ppg.
Los Angeles, which owns the best record in the NBA at 25-6, is enjoying the
longest winning streak in the league since the Boston Celtics reeled off 19 in
a row from Nov. 15-Dec. 23, 2008. The Clippers will play two in a row on the
road against Denver and Golden State, and are riding a seven-game road winning
streak. L.A. is 10-3 as the guest and 5-4 all-time on New Year's Day.
The Clippers' bench has played a major role this season and is first in the
NBA with 42.2 ppg. Crawford has a lot to do with that success and the former
Sixth Man of the Year is second on the team with 16.5 ppg.
Denver certainly won't be a pushover Tuesday night, having won seven in a row
at home. The Nuggets are 9-1 in the Rocky Mountains this season and will play
three straight and 15 of 18 games as the host.
The Nuggets are glad to be home for some time after playing 22 of their first
32 games on the road, and will try to get back in the win column following an
81-72 decision at Memphis on Saturday. JaVale McGee, Corey Brewer and Andre
Iguodala had 12 points apiece for Denver, which had won two straight and six
of its previous eight games.
Memphis shot 60 percent in the fourth quarter and had a 28-15 advantage in the
final stanza. Denver turned the ball over 17 times, leading to 30 Memphis
points. Nuggets forward Danilo Gallinari, coming off a career-best 39-point
performance the night before at Dallas, scored just seven points against the
"We just ran out of gas, and ran out of bodies," Nuggets coach George Karl
said. "We didn't have anybody really playing a great game. We worked them as
hard as we could. The fight was good, but then with the fourth quarter and
turnovers, it just broke our hearts."
Denver is eighth in the NBA with 101.9 ppg and sustained a 112-100 road loss
against the Clippers on Christmas Day. Crawford led the Clippers in that one
with a game-high 22 points. The Clippers have won three straight and six of
the past seven overall meetings with the Nuggets, but are only 3-11 in the
last 14 matchups as the visitor in this series.
The Sports Network