Andre Miller had 15 points and nine assists and Reggie Evans had
13 rebounds for the defending Northwest Division champions, who
finished their exhibition slate 5-3. They are back at Staples
Center next Thursday night for the season opener against the
Clippers, whom they lost to in the first round of the playoffs.
Corey Maggette had 16 points and nine rebounds for the Clippers,
who also finished the preseason 5-3 after shooting just 29.7
percent against the Nuggets. They are coming off their best season
in franchise history, going 47-35 and then beating Denver in five
games before getting eliminated in the second round of the playoffs
by the Phoenix Suns.
Carmelo Anthony didn't see action for Denver after getting 32
Thursday night in a victory over the Lakers. Neither did Nene, who
rested his right knee after playing on Thursday. Center Marcus
Camby missed his sixth straight game because of a cyst in his left
foot and is taking medication for it.
Nene hopes to make it through the season opener this time. Last
year, the 23-year-old center blew out his right knee and missed the
final 81 games of the season and the playoffs. The Nuggets signed
the restricted free agent to a six-year, $60 million contract in
Denver forward Kenyon Martin scored 13 points in 16 minutes.
Martin's limited minutes against the Clippers in the playoffs led
to a heated confrontation with coach George Karl during halftime of
Game 2 in Los Angeles, and a subsequent suspension for
insubordination. Martin, who has been mum on the subject in recent
days, is still due more than $70 million over five years.
The Nuggets never trailed, running out to a 35-17 lead while the
Clippers missed 16 of their first 22 shots. Los Angeles never got
closer than 13 points after Elton Brand's three-point play made it
69-56 with 8:05 left in the third quarter. The Nuggets put it away
in the fourth, as Joe Smith scored eight points during an 18-6 run
that opened up a 103-76 lead with 3:08 remaining.