Big Jokic strikes again as Nuggets outgun Clippers

January 13, 2020

The results:

New York 124, Miami 121; San Antonio 105, Toronto 104; Phoenix 100, Charlotte 92; Utah127, Washington 116; Memphis 122, Golden State 102;  Brooklyn 108, Atlanta 86; Denver 114, LA Clippers 104.

Nikola Jokic went hot again, this time against the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday night, scoring 20 points and making 15 rebounds for his 21st double-double of the season as the host Denver Nuggets beat the   Clippers 114-104.

Jammal Murray had 19 points, Gary Harris scored 15, Michael Porter Jr. 13 and Monte Morris 12 for Denver, which had seven players score in double figures.

Kawhi Leonard had 30 points, Lou Williams 26 and Montrezl Harrell 25 for the Clippers, who played without Paul George who is nursing a hamstring injury.

Denver led by 17 after Jokic hit a 3-pointer early in the third quarter, and the Clippers started to chip away. Leonard hit a jumper and Williams scored off a turnover to force a Nuggets timeout, and Jerami Grant, who finished with 11 points, hit a shot and Jokic his third 3-pointer to make the score 76-58.

Denver took an 89-74 lead into the fourth quarter, but L.A. didn’t go away. After Jokic hit a short jumper to make it 105-87 midway through the final period, the Clippers made a run.

Patrick Beverley hit a 3-pointer, and then Leonard and Harrell scored off consecutive Nuggets turnovers to make it 105-94. Denver called a timeout, but JaMychal Green blocked a Grant shot and Leonard drained a 3-pointer to cut it to eight.

Harrell split two free throws to pull to 106-100, but a foul by Beverley, along with Clippers coach Doc Rivers getting ejected, sealed the win for Denver.

The Nuggets trailed by one after the first quarter but slowly built a lead in the second quarter led by Harris and Porter. Harris, who has struggled with his shot over the past 11 games, was 4-for-5 from the field in the quarter and scored 12 of his 15 points in the period.

Denver led by five early in the second quarter and went up 53-42 on a Harris 3-pointer. Murray’s 23-footer with 4.8 seconds left gave the Nuggets a 66-52 lead at the break.

In Toronto, DeMar DeRozan scored 25 points, Rudy Gay had 15 and the San Antonio Spurs rallied from an 18-point deficit to beat the Toronto Raptors, 105-104.

San Antonio used a big fourth quarter to win for the third time in four games. Derrick White scored 13 points for the Spurs, and LaMarcus Aldridge had 11. DeRozan also collected eight rebounds and four assists while topping 20 points for the 11th straight game.

San Antonio trailed 82-69 to begin the fourth but opened the quarter with a 19-5 run, taking an 88-87 lead on Aldridge’s layup with 6:34 to play.

The Spurs led 100-91 with 2:37 left, but Kyle Lowry, Norman Powell and Serge Ibaka each made 3-pointers as Toronto tied it 100-100 on Ibaka’s shot from distance with 1:17 left.

Siakam broke the tie by making the second of two free throws with 41 seconds left, but Marco Belinelli replied with a 3 for the Spurs, making it 103-101 with 28 seconds remaining.

After a Toronto timeout, Siakam missed a shot that would have tied the game. San Antonio’s Lonnie Walker IV grabbed the rebound, Lowry fouled DeRozan, and the former Raptors star pushed the lead to four points by making a pair from the line.

Lowry replied with a deep 3, cutting the deficit to one, and Aldridge missed a pair of free throws with four seconds left, but Siakam’s long 3-pointer bounced off the backboard at the buzzer.

DeRozan missed his first three free throws but made 11 straight the rest of the way. He didn’t score until 1:25 remained in the first half and attempted just three shots in the first two quarters, but made six of nine attempts in the second half.

Ibaka had 21 points and a season-high 15 rebounds, and Lowry had 16 points and a season-high 15 assists for the Raptors. Ibaka’s double-double was his career-best eighth straight. He’s the third Toronto player to achieve the feat. Chris Bosh did it five times and Donyell Marshall did it once.

San Antonio’s comeback spoiled the returns of Siakam and Powell, each of whom had missed 11 games since a Dec. 18 win at Detroit. Powell scored 20 points and Siakam had 15, including 12 in the first quarter.