By the Associated Press

DENVER— Nikola Jokic had 20 points and 15 rebounds, and the Denver Nuggets withstood a big rally to beat the Los Angeles Clippers 114-104 on Sunday night.

AP20013084794156 640x488 - NBA: Nikola Jokic posts 20 points, 15 rebounds as Nuggets hold off Clippers

Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic (15) drives his head into Los Angeles Clippers center Ivica Zubac (40) during the second quarter of an NBA basketball game, Sunday, Jan. 12, 2020, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

Trailing by as many 20 points in the second half, Los Angeles had pulled within six with 1:11 remaining when Patrick Beverley was called for a foul on Jokic.

Clippers coach Doc Rivers was incensed over the call and was given two technical fouls and tossed from the game. Jamal Murray hit both free throws to give the Nuggets some much-needed breathing room.

Murray finished with 19 points and reserve Michael Porter Jr. provided a spark by scoring 13 as the Nuggets bounced back from a loss to struggling Cleveland the night before at the Pepsi Center. Denver has yet to drop back-to-back home games this season.

Kawhi Leonard scored 30 for Los Angeles. Lou Williams had 26 and Montrezl Harrell added 25.

The Clippers played without star forward Paul George, who missed a second straight game with a strained left hamstring. Los Angeles dropped to 8-6 this season when George doesn’t play.

This game marked the first of three between two of the upper echelon teams in the Western Conference.

Gary Harris showed signs of breaking out of a shooting slump by scoring 15 points. He’s been diligently working on his jumper after shooting 25.6% over his last four games. He was 5 of 9 against the Clippers.

The Nuggets extended their lead to 89-69 with 1:26 remaining in the third quarter on Porter’s floating layup.

Denver had quite a sequence midway through the fourth when Will Barton blocked a shot and Jokic grabbed the rebound. He quickly threw it ahead to Barton, who then dished it off to Monte Morris for a 3-pointer.

Soon after, the Clippers went on a 10-0 run and was looking for more when Harrell was called for an offensive charge when he stepped in front of Jerami Grant, who was guarding Leonard. That didn’t sit well with the Clippers.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *