DENVER (AP) -A little elbow grease worked wonders for Carmelo Anthony.
Bothered by a sore right elbow the last few days, Anthony followed a treatment session with his best offensive showing of the young season, scoring 30 points to lead the Denver Nuggets past the Los Angeles Clippers 111-104 on Friday night.
``I got some real good work done last night on my elbow, loosened it up and put it back in place,' said Anthony, who hit 14 of his 20 shots and both of his free throws. ``It felt good. That was one of the keys.'
Reserve Al Harrington added 18 points and Arron Afflalo had 16 for the Nuggets, who have beaten the Clippers in 12 of their last 14 meetings, including eight straight at the Pepsi Center.
Blake Griffin had 26 points and 10 rebounds and Eric Gordon scored 21 points for the Clippers, who have lost five of six to start the season.
``We played hard but we made some mistakes and they hit shots,' Griffin said. ``They got to the rim and got easy baskets late in the third and in the fourth as well. We'll be all right. We've just got to knock down shots and really concentrate defensively.'
Both teams are coping with injuries to key players.
The Nuggets' frontcourt has been depleted by injuries with center Nene missing a second consecutive game because of a left groin strain. Forwards Chris Andersen and Kenyon Martin are still recovering from offseason knee surgeries and are not expected to make their season debuts until early December and early January, respectively.
The Clippers were without point guard Baron Davis for a third game because of a sore left knee. He remains day to day.
Trailing by a point at halftime, the Nuggets used an 11-2 run capped by Harrington's 3-pointer at the start of the fourth quarter to take an 85-71 lead.
The Clippers, who led 54-53 at halftime, fought back within 93-87 when Gordon made one of two free throws with 6:42 remaining but the Nuggets scored the next six points to go back in front by 12 points with 5:15 left. The Clippers got no closer than eight points the rest of the way with Anthony hitting three baskets in the last couple of minutes. Harrington was at his best in the fourth quarter, too, scoring nine points in the period.
``It was nice to have him and his jumpers tonight,' Nuggets coach George Karl said of Anthony. ``I thought Melo's passing was first-class. He found a lot of easy baskets for us tonight.'
Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro said the Nuggets asserted themselves in the second half by dictating the tempo of the game.
``We can't give up 111 points and think we are going to beat a lot of teams,' he said. ``We have to do a better job defending and controlling the tempo a little better.'
NOTES: Nene's two-game absence due to a groin strain ended a career-long streak of 94 consecutive starts in regular season games. ... Afflalo has scored at least 10 points in each of the Nuggets' first five games. ... The Nuggets have won 50 straight regular season home games when holding a lead entering the fourth quarter. ... The Clippers last won in Denver 105-87 on Jan. 27, 2006. ... Del Negro played under Karl while with the Milwaukee Bucks from 1998-2000.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved