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Billups leads Clippers to 109-105 win over Nuggets

By Arnie Stapleton

Associated Press

Published: Sunday, Jan. 29 2012 8:58 p.m. MST

"I think Chauncey's a winner and he's one of the best winners of all-time," Karl said. "He has great skills but he also has a great head. ... I think everybody knows it was a sad day when we had to part with him. I mean, it was hard on everybody."

Billups included.

He landed in Los Angeles this season when the Knicks invoked the amnesty clause that's part of the new collective bargaining agreement and cut him without having to count his $14.5 million salary against their cap.

Claimed by the Clippers, Billups briefly contemplated retirement but then decided to play a 15th NBA season, and as he showed Sunday night, he's still at the top of his game.

He's a big part of Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro's star-studded veteran cast that includes Griffin, Paul, Mo Williams and Caron Butler that's speeding the learning curve for younger teammates while also stealing the buzz from Kobe Bryant and the Lakers in Los Angeles.

Billups' departure led to more playing time for Ty Lawson in Denver, and he was slated to start Sunday night after missing time with a sprained left ankle, but he was a late scratch. That scuttled some of Karl's plans to play fast against the Clippers, getting the Nuggets into the open court more.

Notes: Karl said he reminded his team that of its six previous wins, only one came against a winning team, "and 16 of our next 18 are against winning teams, so we will know a lot more come March 1 than we know right now." ... Billups said he's trying to get former Denver teammate Kenyon Martin to join the Clippers after his Chinese team ends its season.

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