Jokic has 24 and 10, Nuggets beat depleted Clippers 106-102
LOS ANGELES — Nikola Jokic had 24 points and 10 rebounds, and Danilo Gallinari and Will Barton each scored 23 to lead the Denver Nuggets past the undermanned Los Angeles Clippers 106-102 on Monday night.
The Clippers played without their three leading scorers — Blake Griffin, Chris Paul and J.J. Redick — but came from 17 points down to start the second half and took a seven-point lead in the fourth quarter.
Denver responded with a 9-0 run of its own and used four clutch free throws by Gallinari down the stretch to hold on.
Jamal Crawford led the Clippers with 24 points, and Austin Rivers added 19.
The Nuggets outrebounded the Clippers 51-38.
The Clippers led by one with 7:20 left in the first half when Barton sparked a 16-2 Denver run. Barton hit all five of his shots in the second quarter and added five assists and four rebounds.
The Nuggets shot 82.4 percent (14 of 17) in the period to take a 63-46 lead into halftime. The Clippers got back in the game with a 10-0 run to start the second half.
Nuggets: Wilson Chandler, who missed last season following hip surgery, started his sixth consecutive game. In his previous seven starts, he was averaging slightly more points (19.3-16.1) than as a reserve this season. He scored two points Monday.
Clippers: Los Angeles has played four games in five days. Almost as bad as the injuries, coach Doc Rivers said. … For the first time in the five games Griffin (knee surgery) has been out, Paul Pierce did not start. He was averaging only 13 minutes per start. . C Diamond Stone, 19, was sent down to the Salt Lake City Stars of the NBA Development League.
Nuggets: Return home to host the Timberwolves and emerging stars Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins on Wednesday.
Clippers: After playing five games in seven days at Staples Center, they head to New Orleans on Wednesday. The Clippers are 2-0 against the Pelicans this season.