Los An­ge­les starters take con­trol of game early against Den­ver.

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - By Christo­pher Dempsey Christo­pher Dempsey: cdempsey@den­ver­post.com or @chrisadempsey

los an­ge­les» If ever there was a time the Nuggets needed their bench, it was Tues­day night. They were the bunch with the fresh­est legs. Only four played off the bench Mon­day night against Dal­las, and none any more than Will Bar­ton’s 23 min­utes.

But the bench needed the game to at least be in strik­ing dis­tance for it to work. And for a few, fleet­ing mo­ments it was. But Clip­pers starters amped up their play late in the sec­ond quar­ter and led the charge that blew out the Nuggets 119-102 at the Sta­ples Cen­ter.

This is how it broke down: Clip­pers starters 77 points; Nuggets starters 42 points.

Noth­ing else mat­tered. At least not enough to sig­nif­i­cantly im­pact mat­ters.

The Nuggets were down 16 early but bat­tled back to within two, when Bar­ton knocked in a shot to make the score 46-44 with 6:40 left in the pe­riod. But then Chris Paul and his sup­port­ing cast got down to the busi­ness of pro­vid­ing the knock­out blow.

That blow was a 22-9 hay­maker to close the sec­ond. L.A. took a 15point lead into the third, and it grew out of con­trol from there, bal­loon­ing to as many as 29. The only drama left in the game was whether the Sta­ples Cen­ter crowd would get free Chick-fil-A chicken sand­wiches if a Nuggets’ player missed con­sec­u­tive free throws. It didn’t hap­pen.

The loss snapped the Nuggets’ three-game win­ning streak. The Nuggets barely eclipsed the 100point mark. They had been 0-7 this sea­son when they failed to reach 100 points.

Mean­while, Clip­pers play­ers put up big num­bers. Paul nearly recorded a triple-dou­ble with 16 points, 15 as­sists and eight re­bounds. J.J. Redick hit 7-of-9 3point­ers

Fon his way to 27 points. DeAn­dre Jor­dan had a dou­ble­dou­ble of 13 points and 13 re­bounds. Los An­ge­les made 16 3point­ers in the game.

The Nuggets were led by Bar­ton’s 22 points. Ken­neth Faried logged a dou­ble-dou­ble of 15 points and 11 re­bounds. Danilo Gal­li­nari had one of his bet­ter shoot­ing nights this sea­son, scor­ing 17 points on 6-of-11 shoot­ing. He made 4-of-8 shots from the 3point line.

Af­ter two days off, the Nuggets re­turn home to face Atlanta on Fri­day.

Nuggets guard Will Bar­ton takes a shot over Clip­pers cen­ter Mar­reese Speights dur­ing the first half of Den­ver’s 119-102 loss in Los An­ge­les on Tues­day night. Chris Carl­son, The As­so­ci­ated Press

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