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Nuggets end Clippers' team-record win streak at 17

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Nuggets end Clippers' team-record win streak at 17

DENVER (AP) Even the NBA's hottest team can have a bad night.

The Denver Nuggets took advantage of the Los Angeles Clippers' shooting woes Tuesday night, getting 17 points from Danilo Gallinari in a 92-78 victory that snapped the Clippers' franchise-record, 17-game winning streak.

Poor shooting, particularly from 3-point range (5 of 29, 17.2 percent) and the free-throw line (13 of 29, 44.8 percent) doomed the Clippers' streak, the longest in the NBA since the Boston Celtics won 19 in a row from Nov. 15-Dec. 23, 2008. The Clippers avoided matching their season-low in points when Eric Bledsoe hit a jumper in the final seconds.

``Throughout the course of the game, it's tough when you're missing shots, but at the same time you have games like that and you have to figure out how to get around it, which we didn't do,'' said Blake Griffin, who had 12 points but shot less than 50 percent from the field (4 of 11) for the first time in 18 games.

``That's the result of a game like this. We did a poor job defensively and that carried into our offense with missing shots. It snowballed and just went downhill.''

The Nuggets, of course, had something to do with that and Andre Iguodala said the victory against the Clippers, who built their streak in part with a Christmas Day win against Denver in Los Angeles, would help the Nuggets build ``our confidence, our swagger.

``The Clippers have been playing with that the last 18 games. That builds into them winning. They have the mentality every night they're going to go out there and win. We've got to build the same thing and try to string along the same type of win streak.''

The loss was the first for the Clippers since a 105-98 setback against New Orleans on Nov. 26. It also marked the end of a franchise-record seven-game winning streak on the road.

Kenneth Faried added 14 points and 11 rebounds for the Nuggets, who won their eighth in a row at home.

Bledsoe scored 12 points, DeAndre Jordan had 11 and Chris Paul 10 for the Clippers.

``Maybe two or three of the 3's that we missed, they had a hand in our face,'' Paul said. ``But we got all the shots that we wanted. There are going to be nights like that. It just hasn't happened for a while.''

Andre Miller had 12 points and 12 assists for the Nuggets starting in place of point guard Ty Lawson, who has been bothered by tightness in his left Achilles' tendon for the past week and missed a game for the first time this season.

``We don't win this game without Andre,'' Nuggets coach George Karl said. ``He just got us easy baskets, got a lot of guys involved, gave our team a lot of confidence.''

Miller wasn't taking all the credit.

``It was a good win against a good team. We beat them every quarter,'' he said. ``It was a weird game, kind of slow. Both teams want to get up and down the court. It was one of those nights where we fell into some easy baskets. We controlled our turnovers and had the energy on our side.''

Iguodala helped out at point guard and chipped in with 12 points and eight assists for Denver, which lost 112-100 to the Clippers in Los Angeles on Christmas Day.

After Bledsoe hit a 3-pointer to pull the Clippers within 65-58 with 1:54 left in the third quarter, the Nuggets scored eight of the next nine points, including JaVale McGee's first career 3-pointer at the buzzer to take a 75-59 lead into the fourth quarter. McGee, who had a dunk off an alley-oop from Miller on Denver's previous possession, hadn't even tried a 3-pointer in a game all season until then. He blew on his shooting hand after making the 3 as if to cool it off.

The Clippers got within 87-73 with 4:02 remaining when Griffin made one of two free throws, but the Nuggets, as they did throughout the game, had an answer with Iguodala getting loose in the paint for a slam. The Clippers didn't threaten the rest of the way.

The Nuggets took a 12-point lead with 3:01 left in the second quarter when Faried buried a short hook shot before settling for a 48-43 halftime advantage.

Los Angeles closed the period with a 9-2 run, starting with Paul converting a three-point play followed by Jordan's dunk off a lob from Paul.

NOTES: Clippers PG Chauncey Billups, a former Nugget and native of Denver, missed the game as he continues to recover from a foot injury that has kept him on the sideline this season. ... The Clippers began a stretch of four games in five days that resumes Wednesday in Oakland against the Golden State Warriors. ... The Nuggets improved to 5-1 on New Year's Day. ... Miller had a double-double for the 204th time in his career and the first time this season. ... The Clippers' 17-game streak was the second-longest ever snapped by the Nuggets. The Chicago Bulls were on an 18-game run when the Nuggets beat them on Feb. 4, 1996.

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Grizzlies trade Mike Conley to the Jazz

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Grizzlies trade Mike Conley to the Jazz

A person with knowledge of the decision says the Memphis Grizzlies have traded veteran point guard Mike Conley, who has played the most games in franchise history, to the Utah Jazz.

The person says the Grizzlies swapped Conley for Jae Crowder, Kyle Korver and Grayson Allen. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Wednesday because neither Memphis nor Utah has announced the trade.

ESPN.com first reported the deal, which it says also includes Utah's No. 23 pick overall in Thursday night's draft. 

Conley was the final piece of the core that led the Grizzlies to seven consecutive playoff berths, including the 2013 Western Conference Finals. Zach Randolph and Tony Allen left in 2017 as free agents, and Memphis traded Marc Gasol to Toronto in February, splitting up a duo that had been the NBA's longest-tenured teammates. Gasol went on to help the Raptors win their first NBA title.

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski has since confirmed that Memphis will also be receiving a 2020 protected first-round pick, which will either convey as a late-lottery pick in 2020 and 2021 or become a lightly-protected pick from 2022-2024. 

 

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Max Scherzer was adamant Tuesday he would pitch for the Nats Wednesday night

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Max Scherzer was adamant Tuesday he would pitch for the Nats Wednesday night

WASHINGTON -- Max Scherzer now owns blue, brown and black eyes.

Scherzer -- who has heterochromia, resulting in one blue and one brown eye -- also now has bruising under his right eye after fouling a practice bunt attempt into his face Tuesday. He left Nationals Park on Tuesday with a splint across his broken nose, a clean CT scan and adamant he would be pitching later Wednesday.

Whether Scherzer pitches the second game of a split day-night doubleheader Wednesday is to be determined. He was still asleep, which is normal for his game-day routine, when manager Davey Martinez spoke to reporters Wednesday morning at 11. So, the last the Nationals knew, the expectation was for Scherzer to be ready for Wednesday night.

“I am convinced right now Scherzer is going to pitch the second game, and we’ll go from there,” Martinez said.

The Nationals have not played baseball since Sunday. Patrick Corbin was supposed to start Monday and Tuesday before those games were snuffed out by rain following lengthy delays. Corbin started the first game on Wednesday.

If Scherzer cannot pitch the second, Erick Fedde or Austin Voth will. Voth was brought in from Triple-A Fresno on Tuesday to be the 26th man on the roster for the doubleheader. He had a laborious trip to get to the District: Voth left Fresno on a 6 a.m. flight with a connection in Salt Lake City. He missed it because his first flight was delayed by weather and mechanical problems. He was rerouted to Detroit -- which took him out of first class and put him into a middle seat in coach -- then eventually landed in Washington. His baseball bag made the whole journey. His personal bag did not.

The Nationals hope they don’t have to use Voth as a starter. He could fill three roles: relief in the first game, starter in the second or relief in the second. He is likely to pitch somehow Wednesday in order to protect the other bullpen members during a stretch of six games in five days (should Mother Nature finally relent).

So, the Nationals are waiting on a call from Scherzer to map everything out. He’s expected to ring the team’s head trainer, Paul Lessard when he arises. The team is concerned about possible breathing complications for Scherzer both prior to and while pitching after Scherzer left the stadium with a splint across his damaged nose on Wednesday. Martinez was not sure if his $210 million right-hander would wear the splint if he pitches in a game.

What the Nationals do know is they have run into another odd situation during a strange year. A bad start, a manager on the hot seat, a recent rally toward relevancy, then back-to-back rainouts against a key opponent with an ace’s broken nose mixed in. Several players wore black “Stay in the fight” T-shirts which were draped across their clubhouse chairs when they walked in Wednesday morning. That slogan applied to Scherzer’s mentality on Tuesday night.

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