NBA regular season

Jokic-less Nuggets stun Clippers off 4th-quarter surge


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Jokic-less Nuggets stun Clippers off 4th-quarter surge

BIG GUNS. Nuggets forward Zeke Nnaji (right) gets the rebound against Clippers guards Kawhi Leonard (left) and James Harden.

Gary A. Vasquez/USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

Even with two-time MVP Nikola Jokic sitting out for the first time this season, the Nuggets rally from a double-digit deficit in the final quarter to upset Kawhi Leonard and the Clippers

Reggie Jackson had season-highs of 35 points and 13 assists, DeAndre Jordan added season-bests of 21 points and 13 rebounds, and the duo used familiar surroundings to power the shorthanded Denver Nuggets to a 113-104 victory over the host Los Angeles Clippers on Monday, November 27 (Tuesday, November 28, Manila time).

The two former Clippers stepped up for the Nuggets, who were without Nikola Jokic (back), Aaron Gordon (heel), and Jamal Murray (hamstring). 

Jokic, a two-time MVP, missed a game for the first time this season.

Justin Holiday and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope each scored 12 points and Michael Porter Jr. pulled down 10 rebounds for the Nuggets, who improved to 6-5 since November 6, all with Murray out of action.

Jackson reached the 30-point mark for the first time since the 2021-2022 season, when he was with the Clippers.

Kawhi Leonard scored 31 points and Ivica Zubac added 23 points and 14 rebounds for the Clippers, who had won four of their previous five games.

Russell Westbrook had 14 points and 11 rebounds, and James Harden added 11 points for the Clippers, who could not overcome a rough shooting night for leading scorer Paul George, who finished 2-of-13 from the field and scored 6 points. 

Los Angeles is 4-7 since Harden, acquired from the Philadelphia 76ers, began playing.

Trailing 88-77 heading into the fourth quarter, the Nuggets opened the final period on a 15-2 run and led 92-90 after a short-range basket by Jackson with 7:28 remaining. Jackson had 5 points in the scoring spurt.

After a floater by Leonard pulled the Clippers within 94-93 with 6:31 to go, Los Angeles did not make another field goal until 1:13 remained, when Leonard sank a layup to slice Denver’s lead to four.

The Clippers looked poised to take advantage of the Nuggets’ absences when they opened a six-point lead in the first quarter, and the hosts were up 42-31 with 9:03 remaining in the first half. 

However, Denver went on a 12-0 run to take a one-point lead and was up 58-56 at halftime.

Denver led 70-68 midway through the third quarter before Los Angeles went on a 18-5 run to go up by 11. –

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