Nuggets’ Jokic Scores 49 in Rally to Beat Clippers in OT 130–128

By Nhat Hoang
Nhat Hoang
Nhat Hoang
January 20, 2022Updated: January 20, 2022

The Denver Nuggets (23–20) came from 12 points down at halftime to beat the visiting Los Angeles Clippers (22–24) in overtime, 130–128, on Wednesday night.

Denver coach Michael Malone said at the press conference following the game, “That was an incredible game. It really was, exciting, big plays on both ends. It was like a shootout at the OK Corral, nobody could get a stop.”

Nikola Jokic had a triple-double; leading all with 49 points on 16 of 25 shooting, 14 rebounds, 10 assists, and three steals; one point shy of his career-high. Jokic assisted Aaron Gordon’s three-pointer with 2.2 seconds remaining from the left corner for the overtime win.

Malone added of last year’s NBA MVP, “You tell me if Nicola Jokic isn’t the MVP, then who is? That guy can beat you with his passing, his scoring, his rebounding. That last pass to Aaron not only wins the game, but gives him his 10th assist on the night.”

Jokic commented regarding Gordon’s winning shot, “I really trust him because he truly cares, and he wants to win. That’s what I love about him.”

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Denver Nuggets forward Aaron Gordon, front, drives to the rim past Los Angeles Clippers guard Terance Mann in the first half of an NBA basketball game in Denver, on Jan. 19, 2022. (David Zalubowski/AP Photo)

Gordon followed Jokic with 28 points on 10 of 16 shooting, four rebounds, three assists, and two steals. Monte Morris added 19 points, nine rebounds and nine assists; while Jeff Green had 12 points, four rebounds, three assists, and two steals.

For the Clippers, Ivica Zubac scored a career-high 32 points on 15 of 19 shooting, and added 10 rebounds, three assists, one steal, and one block. Zubac made big plays late in regulation and overtime, to include tying the game with 26.4 seconds remaining before Gordon’s winner.

“I haven’t had that much fun until before I came into the league,” said Zubac. “But unfortunately we lost the game.” The Clippers had just beaten the Nuggets at home on Jan. 11, in a defensive struggle 87–85.

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Los Angeles Clippers center Ivica Zubac, left, clears out Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic on the way to the rim in the first half of an NBA basketball game in Denver on Jan. 19, 2022. (David Zalubowski/AP Photo)

Clippers Reggie Jackson scored 28 points along with 12 assists and three rebounds. Brandon Boston Jr. came off the bench to add 16 points, four rebounds, and two assists. Eric Bledsoe contributed with 13 points, two rebounds, and two assists off the bench.

Terrance Mann had a chance to win the game for the Clippers in regulation. He passed up a three-point attempt to dribble past a defender, and hit a shot from the right side but the buzzer went off before his release to go to overtime 114–114.

The overtime was a see-saw battle back and forth; Zubac tied the game with a hook-shot, and Mann’s three put the Clippers up by three with 3:48 in OT.

Boston’s basket gives the Clippers a 123–120 lead with 1:44 remaining. Jokic would score back-to-back baskets to retake the lead; before Zubac tipped in a shot for a one-point advantage with 45.5 seconds left.

Jokic had a huge three-point play as he continued on a drive to score after being fouled, to give the Nuggets a 127–125 lead. Zubac tipped in another miss to tie the game again with 26.4 seconds left.

Gordon would make his big three-pointer. But the Clippers had one last shot after a made free throw from Davon Reed having received a technical foul for running onto the court.

With 1.7 seconds left, Jackson received the inbounds pass to attempt a desperate 44-foot shot near half-court that banked off of the rim as the buzzer sounded.

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Los Angeles Clippers guard Reggie Jackson, right, looks to pass the ball as Denver Nuggets forward Will Barton defends in the first half of an NBA basketball game in Denver on Jan. 19, 2022. (David Zalubowski/AP Photo)

The Clippers travel to play the Philadelphia 76ers on Friday; while the Nuggets stay home to host the Memphis Grizzlies on Friday as well.