EditorsNote: Tweaks in 3rd, 4th, 8th and 10th grafs
Nikola Jokic scored 21 points, including a tiebreaking putback with 1:24 left, and the Denver Nuggets rallied late to beat the host Los Angeles Clippers 107-98 on Wednesday night.
Gary Harris had 20 points and Will Barton scored 19 for the Nuggets, who scored eight straight points in the final 90 seconds to pull away for the win in the opener for both teams.
Tobias Harris led the Clippers with 19 points and 10 rebounds, Boban Marjanovic scored 18 points and Danilo Gallinari finished with 16 points before fouling out.
The game was tied at 95 when Denver guard Jamal Murray drove the lane. Avery Bradley blocked the shot, but it went right to Jokic, who put it in for a 97-95 lead.
Patrick Beverley missed a 3-pointer, and Gary Harris hit a 14-footer to stretch it to a four-point lead. Paul Millsap, who finished with 11 points and 16 rebounds, hit six free throws down the stretch.
The Clippers went 5:11 without a field goal, a drought that was broken by Lou Williams’ 3-pointer with 22 seconds left.
The Nuggets led by as many as 11 in the third quarter, but Los Angeles rallied to cut it to one late in the period.
Denver’s first game of the season came on the same day the team announced that head coach Michael Malone agreed to a contract extension for a reported two years. Malone is in his fourth year with the Nuggets.
Denver led 81-78 early in the fourth, but Los Angeles rallied to go ahead. Tobias Harris hit a 3-pointer, and Marjanovic converted two three-point plays to give the Clippers an 87-82 lead with 6:55 left.
The advantage grew to eight after Gallinari hit a 3-pointer and Tobias Harris a pair of free throws.
Denver responded with a 9-2 run. Barton and Murray hit mid-range jumpers, and Gary Harris hit two free throws. Gallinari sank two foul shots, but Jokic hit a 3-pointer and Millsap hit a floater at the end of the shot clock to give the Nuggets a 95-94 lead.
Tobias Harris split two free throws to tie it with 1:48 left.
—Field Level Media