Five Takeaways: Clippers Complete 19-Point Comeback in Denver
DENVER — The Clippers (32-27) overcame a 19-point deficit to beat the Nuggets (33-28), 122-120, sliding back into the eighth seed for the playoffs and securing a season-series advantage over Denver.
Here are five quick takeaways from the Clippers win.
1) Boban makes mark —
Boban Marjanovic subbed in for the first time with 4 minutes and 6 seconds remaining in the third quarter. The Clippers were down 19, and were in danger of getting blown out. Standing at 7-foot-3, Marjanovic’s size overwhelmed the Nuggets, as he posted 7 points and 3 rebounds over the remainder of the frame to cut Denver’s lead to 7. The run continued into the fourth quarter, eventually boiling into a 26-4 run. Montrezl Harrell threw down multiple thunderous dunks. The Clippers lead grew to eight, with the Nuggets looking towards each other searching for answers.
Marjanovic finished the night with a season-high 18 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 combined blocks and steals. Harrell finished the game with 15 points on 70-percent shooting.
2) Williams leads bench —
The Clippers bench brought them back into the game, as the unit outscored Denver’s bench 74 – 24, the most bench points by a Clipper team since December 30, 2000 (78 vs. Lakers). Lou Williams led the way with a team-high 25 points. Marjanovic and Harrell dominated the Nuggets’ frontcourt. Milos Teodosic hit 3 three-pointers, totaling 11 points. In the second half alone, the Clippers bench outscored the Nuggets’ bench, 54-4.
3) Milsap returns —
Paul Milsap, who has missed 44 games this season, returned tonight. Milsap came off the bench and scored 9 points, showing the expected signs of rust. Gary Harris scored a game-high 23 points, making a clutch three late to close the Clippers lead to 1. Will Barton added 19 of his own, while Jamal Murray finished with 18 points. The Nuggets finished as team shooting 49-percent with 10 three pointers, but 20 turnovers.
4) Battle of the guard —
Without Avery Bradley and Danilo Gallinari, the Clippers were without two of their biggest playmakers on both ends of the floor. In the first half, Austin Rivers picked up the offensive slack with a team-high 14 points, but as good as he was, Barton outdueled him, scoring all of his 19 points before the break.
Neither scored much in the second half, but in the final moments of the game, Rivers punctuated the Clippers victory by forcing a turnover by Jamal Murray.
5) Playoff look-in —
With the win, the Clippers climbed back into the eighth seed, while the Nuggets slipped to the ninth. LA has locked down the season series against Denver, securing a tiebreaker between the two teams for the postseason. The Clippers are a game and a half back of the sixth and seventh seed, and only two games back of the fifth seed with 23 games remaining.
What’s Next? — The Clippers return home to host the Rockets tomorrow at 7:30 p.m. PST on ESPN and Prime Ticket.