George’s heave just late, Jokic and Nuggets top Clips in OT

DENVER, Feb. 27 (BNA): Nikola Jokic scored 40 points, 17 rebounds and 10 assists as the Denver Nuggets beat the Los Angeles Clippers 134-124 in a Western Conference game Sunday night.

Paul George nearly won it for the Clippers with a stunning shot at the end of regulation, but his long lead from in front of the three-point line in the backcourt came just after the buzzer, the Associated Press reports.

This was Jokic’s 23rd hat-trick of the season and his 14th in the past 19 matches. Denver is undefeated this season when they have a triple-double.

“If you’re looking for a super-athlete to win MVP, he’s not your candidate,” Nuggets coach Michael Malone said. “If you’re looking for a great player who makes a win in every way possible, and whose team is first in the Western Conference, then he’s your guy. Honestly, I don’t give a damn what people think. I know he’s the best player on the team and his teammates know that and all the fans here in Denver and back Back home in Serbia they know it.”

Michael Porter, Jr. scored 29 points and 11 rebounds for the Nuggets. Jamal Murray added 21 points and 12 assists.

Kawhi Leonard scored 33 points to lead the Clippers two nights after scoring a season-high 44 points in a double overtime loss against Sacramento. George finished with 23 points.

On a night after scoring a season-low 94 points in an 18-point loss at Memphis, the Nuggets shot 51% overall, including 63.2%, with two shots.

“When we get embarrassed, I think we do a really good job of putting us forward for the next game,” Malone said. “One thing we always talk about is good teams don’t lose two games in a row. That’s something you’re going for. Tonight, we managed to get her out.”

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Denver is 4-0 this season against the Clippers, with each win coming by at least 10 points.

Denver led by 18 points in the first quarter and had a nine-point advantage going into their fourth, but George’s three-point play gave the Clippers their first lead, 109-107, with 4:17 remaining.

With his team trailing 118-117, Porter drained a 3-pointer with 26.6 seconds left, but George threw two free throws on the next possession and the game went to overtime tied at 120.

“I think we’re there,” George said. “We’re right where we want to be. We just have to keep working. These losses are late in the game, we’re going to make amends and we’re going to figure out how to win these tough losses.”

homecoming
Bones Hyland, one of the Nuggets’ first rounds of 2021, was played in Denver for the first time since being traded to the Clippers on February 9.

When asked if he was surprised by the trading, Hyland said “Just with how it went, maybe I knew a little.” “I have so much love for Denver. I thank them for taking a chance with a kid like me.”

Hyland averaged 10.9 points in 111 games for Denver, the fewest the Nuggets have played in the first round between 2006-21.

“Just because you played a lot last year because players were injured doesn’t necessarily mean there will be a role for you to play a lot this year,” Nuggets general manager Calvin Booth said. “I think that has always been a point of friction for him and the club.”

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the next
Clippers: Hosts Minnesota on Tuesday.
Nuggets: Play in Houston on Tuesday.

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