Friday , Nov , 03 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

Cassell leads Clippers over Denver; Anthony ejected

Los Angeles, CA (Sports Network) – Sam Cassell scored 35 points and hit the
winning free throws with 12 seconds left, as the Los Angeles Clippers beat
Denver, 96-95, in the Nuggets’ season opener.

Denver star Carmelo Anthony had 15 points, but was ejected with 8:22 left in
the third quarter after throwing his headband in the direction of official Tom
Washington following the argument of a charging foul. It was Anthony’s second
technical foul. His first came in the opening minute of the third after
arguing a foul call.

Tim Thomas poured in 21 points for the Clippers, who suffered a 112-104 loss
Wednesday night at Phoenix.

“It’s great to get a win when you’re not playing great,” Clippers coach Mike
Dunleavy said. “Sam and Tim came up with some big shots. Their shot-making
ability was great down the stretch.”

J.R. Smith tallied 21 points for the Nuggets, who lost to the Clippers in five
games in the Western Conference quarterfinals last season. Guard Andre Miller
had a horrific night, going 0-for-11 from the field to finish with five points
and seven assists. Marcus Camby picked up the slack with 16 points, 18
rebounds and four blocked shots.

Even without Anthony, Denver built a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter, but
blew it.

A rainbow three-pointer by Thomas gave the Clippers a 94-93 lead with 36.9
seconds left. Miller then missed a layup, but after Cassell lost the ball in
the backcourt, Smith jammed to give Denver a one-point edge with 18.2 seconds

Cassell complained he was bumped, but he got his revenge, being fouled by
Yakhouba Diawara on a missed jumper with 12 seconds left. Cassell completed
his 7-for-7 night at the foul line.

“It’s a great win for us,” Cassell. “We’re not playing LA Clipper basketball
right now, but it’s coming. I dictate who gets the ball and Tim really came
through tonight. He’s not afraid to shoot the ball and he knocks them down.”

Miller then had a shot blocked on a drive to the bucket, but the Nuggets
retained possession with 6.4 seconds left. However, Earl Boykins’ jumper at in
the closing seconds was partially blocked by Elton Brand.

The Clippers trailed 24-18 after one quarter. Denver scored eight straight
points for a 46-45 lead, but the Nuggets trailed 49-48 at the half.

Anthony’s first technical came 45 seconds into the third. After Brand dunked
to give LA a 56-54 lead, Anthony drew his second technical. After being
ejected, he ripped his shirt off in the tunnel leading to the locker room.

Despite Anthony’s absence, the Nuggets rallied to grabbed a 70-65 lead going
into the fourth.

The advantage stood at 82-72 with 6:57 left following a basket by Boykins.

Six straight points by the Clippers brought them within 86-83, with a free
throw by Corey Maggette capping the spurt with 3:14 remaining.

Game Notes

Denver fell to 8-23 all-time in road openers…The Clippers have won their
last four home openers…Los Angeles has won four in a row in the regular
season versus Denver…Maggette had 13 points and seven rebounds…Boykins had
15 points and seven assists and Nene scored 10 for Denver, which shot 38.6
percent from the field…LA shot 42.7 percent.