Clippers finish the first half with the slight 54-53 lead. Blake Griffin almost had a put back on an alley-oop inbounds pass with one second left, but he missed it as time expired.
Griffin leads LA with 13 first half points and six rebounds, while Rasual Butler has 12 as the sixth man and Craig Smith has 9 off the bench.
Carmelo Anthony leads all scorers with 14 points for Denver.
The Clippers are shooting a .478 field goal percentage, although Chris Kaman is a cold 3 for 11. The Nuggets are keeping it close, going 20-42 from the field.