Clippers rally from 25 down in 2nd half, stun Nuggets 87-85

  • Denver Nuggets forward Jeff Green, second from left, goes up for a dunk as Los Angeles Clippers guard Brandon Boston Jr., left, defends along with guard Amir Coffey, second from left, and guard Terance Mann during the first half of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2022, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

LOS ANGELES — Amir Coffey had 18 points, Reggie Jackson scored 11 of his 13 in the fourth quarter and the Los Angeles Clippers rallied from a 25-point deficit in the second half for a stunning 87-85 victory over the Denver Nuggets on Tuesday night.

Terance Mann scored nine of his 13 points in the fourth quarter for Los Angeles, which won for the fourth time in 10 games since Paul George joined Kawhi Leonard on its lengthy injured list. The Clippers won despite managing a meager 28 points in the lowest-scoring first half in the NBA this season and then falling behind 59-34 midway through the third period.


Denver scored just seven points in the next 10 minutes, allowing the Clippers to mount their improbable comeback. Los Angeles tied it on Jackson’s jumper with 7:03 to play and went ahead on Jackson’s 3-pointer moments later.

Nikola Jokic got back-to-back buckets to put Denver back on top, but Coffey’s 3-pointer with 2:30 left pushed the Clippers ahead for good. Nicolas Batum hit a 3 on the next possession, and Jokic missed a long 3-pointer right before the buzzer.

Aaron Gordon scored a season-high 30 points and Jokic had 21 points, 13 rebounds and eight assists for the Nuggets, who couldn’t overcome a long stretch of ineptitude spanning the final two quarters. Gordon made 11 of his 16 shots in his highest-scoring performance since joining the Nuggets last March, but Jokic hit only three shots in the fourth quarter.

The Clippers’ supporting cast got an enormous boost to their quest to keep pace in the Western Conference race without both of the team’s cornerstones. George is still at least three weeks away from his return from elbow surgery, and Leonard is still recovering from knee surgery.

The Clippers also played without Luke Kennard and Justise Winslow, who are in the NBA’s health and safety protocols.

The Clippers’ awful 28-point first half was their worst offensive performance since the first half of a 51-point loss to Dallas just over a year ago. The Nuggets weren’t a whole lot better, missing 14 of their 16 3-point attempts before halftime. After the Clippers went down 25, they made a 21-3 run in the next six minutes to keep it close.


Nuggets: Played without Will Barton, who entered the health and safety protocols Monday. Rodney McGruder also was inactive one day after Denver acquired him from Detroit in a trade for Bol Bol. … Austin Rivers started and scored four points after being briefly hospitalized after an unspecified allergic reaction Monday, coach Michael Malone said. The former Clippers shooter was declared fine to play.

Clippers: Kennard has missed six straight games, and Winslow joined him this week. … Isaiah Hartenstein missed his 12th straight game with a left ankle injury. … Actor Paul Walter Hauser (“Cobra Kai”) was the guest host of the game, wearing a No. 33 jersey with his name on the back as he pumped up the crowd and threw a few karate kicks at Chuck the Condor.


Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. both got some shots up during early pregame warmups. Murray had surgery to repair a torn knee ligament last April, and Porter had back surgery in December. Neither is close to a return, but Denver hopes both will play in the second half of the season.


Nuggets: Host the Portland Trail Blazers on Thursday.

Clippers: At the New Orleans Pelicans on Thursday.


TORONTO — Devin Booker scored 16 points, including the go-ahead basket with 1:02 remaining, and Chris Paul had 15 points and 12 assists as the Phoenix Suns beat Toronto 99-95 on Tuesday night to snap the Raptors’ longest winning streak of the season at six games.

Jae Crowder scored 19 points, Deandre Ayton had 16 and Mikal Bridges added 12 as the Suns improved to 31-9, matching the franchise’s best record through 40 games.

OG Anunoby scored 25 points, Pascal Siakam had 22 and Fred VanVleet added 21 for the Raptors, who lost for the first time since Dec. 28 against Philadelphia.

Chris Boucher had 13 points and 16 rebounds for the Raptors, who played without injured starters Scottie Barnes and Gary Trent Jr.


MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Ja Morant scored 29 points, including five in the final minute, and Memphis beat Golden State for its 10th straight win.

Ziaire Williams and Tyus Jones had 17 points each for Memphis. Jones keyed a fourth-quarter rally that put the Grizzlies ahead for good. He finished 6 for 8 from the field, including connecting on all five of his 3-point attempts.

Stephen Curry led the Warriors with 27 points, while Klay Thompson finished with 14 points. Andrew Wiggins and Gary Payton II scored 13 each.

The teams had a closely played game in the second half until consecutive 3-pointers by Jones gave Memphis a 109-100 lead with 3:33 left to play. That was enough of a buffer for the Grizzlies to keep their franchise-record win streak going, Memphis holding Golden State to 18 points in the fourth quarter.


CHICAGO — Nikola Vucevic scored 22 points, DeMar DeRozan had 20 points and 12 rebounds, and Chicago routed Detroit.

DeRozan sat for most of the final 16 minutes but still added seven assists. Eastern Conference-leading Chicago won after its season-best nine-game winning streak ended Sunday in Dallas.

Josh Jackson scored 16 points and Saddiq Bey added 14 for the Pistons, who had won two straight.

The Bulls led 61-52 at intermission and quickly turned it into a blowout by starting the second half on a 17-0 run that included four straight 3-pointers; two each from Derrick Jones Jr. and Vucevic. The Pistons helped dig the hole by missing their first seven shots and turning the ball over three times during the four-minute stretch.


WASHINGTON — Kentavious Caldwell-Pope hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with 30.8 seconds remaining and Washington beat Oklahoma City despite being without star Bradley Beal because of health and safety protocols.

The Thunder lost their fifth straight game, and the key possession came with about a half-minute to play and the score tied at 118. The Wizards worked the shot clock down, and Caldwell-Pope’s attempt from the right wing went in off the glass. He responded by holding both arms out, apparently in relief, disbelief or both.

Luguentz Dort missed everything on a 3 at the other end, and Kyle Kuzma made a free throw with 13.3 seconds left.

Kuzma led the Wizards with 29 points, and Spencer Dinwiddie had 22 points and 10 assists. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander led the Thunder with 32 points, including two straight layups that tied it at 118.


NEW ORLEANS — Brandon Ingram capped a 33-point, nine-assist performance by hitting three 3-pointers in the final 1:13 — the last with less than a second left — and New Orleans edged Minnesota.

Ingram went 6 for 7 from 3-point territory and his most pivotal shots came in a long-range exchange with Minnesota’s Anthony Edwards, whose fifth 3 of the game cut New Orleans’ lead to 117-115 before Ingram hit from the right wing while being fouled for a four-point play.

After Edwards came right back with a left-wing 3, Ingram hit another from deep to make it 124-118 with 50.5 seconds left.

Malik Beasley’s sixth 3 of the game cut it to 124-123 with 12.9 seconds left, and the Wolves fouled Devonte’ Graham, who made one of two free throws with 9.2 seconds to go. Minnesota tied it at 125 on D’Angelo Russell’s driving scoop with 3.6 seconds left, only to see Ingram’s rainbow 3 from more than 25 feet swish through for the win.

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