Boban Marjanovic shocked the Denver Nuggets with five of his season-high 18 points in a late tiebreaking run Tuesday night that lifted the visiting Los Angeles Clippers to a come-from-behind, 122-120 victory in a battle of Western Conference playoff contenders.
The Clippers’ second win in two meetings with the Nuggets this season allowed Los Angeles (32-27) to move into a virtual tie with Denver (33-28) for the eighth and final playoff spot in the West.
The teams have just one more head-to-head this season — April 7 in Los Angeles — so the Clippers have clinched the season-series win, which would come into play as a tiebreaker in case both teams finish with the same record.
The Nuggets dominated the first 2 1/2 quarters, building as much as a 19-point lead, before the Clippers used a 32-6 barrage bridging the third and fourth periods to catch up and set up the exciting finish.
After Nikola Jokic tied the game for the Nuggets at 106-all with 5:12 to play, Lou Williams scored five consecutive points before Marjanovic, a throw-in in the Blake Griffin trade with Detroit last month, connected on three free throws and a dunk.
When Montrezl Harrell dropped in a hook shot, the Clippers were up 118-111 with just 2:03 to play.
Jokic and Gary Harris bombed in late 3-pointers, helping the Nuggets get within one, but two free throws by Williams with 11.8 seconds to go lengthened the lead back to 121-118, and the Clippers held on.
Williams, one of the NBA’s leading scorers since Jan. 1, finished with a game-high 25 points for the Clippers, who have gone 7-2 since the Griffin trade. The reserve also found time for a team-high six assists.
After having gone scoreless in his first two games with the Clippers, Marjanovic surpassed his previous season high of 15 he had for the Pistons at Miami in January.
Austin Rivers added 17 points, Tyrone Wallace 16, Harrell 15 and Milos Teodosic 11 for the Clippers, who completed a run of seven straight road games with five wins.
Harris paced the Nuggets with 23 points.
Will Barton went for 19 points, Jokic, Wilson Chandler and Jamal Murray had 18 apiece, and Mason Plumlee added 10 points to go with a team-high nine rebounds for Denver, which lost its second straight.
The Nuggets welcomed back Paul Millsap from a 44-game absence caused by a torn ligament in his left wrist. He had nine points and seven rebounds in 23 minutes off the bench.
The Nuggets led by as many as 11 points in the first half and then by 19 after a Harris layup with 4:24 remaining in the third quarter.
It was 86-68 with 2:53 to go before Marjanovic (five points) and Williams (four) combined for nine points in a 13-2 run to close the period and get the Clippers within 88-81.
Williams then hit a 3-pointer while Harrell and Marjanovic each contributed a three-point play to a 19-4 Clippers flurry that completed the 32-6 run and put Los Angeles up 100-92 with 8:02 to go.
—Field Level Media