Paul George, Clippers overcome 17-point deficit to beat Jokic, Nuggets

Paul George scored 28 points, James Harden added 20 and the Los Angeles Clippers overcame an early 17-point deficit to beat the Denver Nuggets 102-100 on Thursday night.

The Clippers snapped a five-game skid at home despite the absence of Kawhi Leonard, who missed his second straight game because of a sore right knee.

Nikola Jokic had 36 points, 17 rebounds and 10 assists — his 24th triple-double of the season — to lead Denver, which had won two in a row and six of eight. Aaron Gordon added 18 points.

Nuggets coach Michael Malone was ejected with 7:54 remaining in the game. He came on the court to argue with the officials and was hit with two technical fouls.

The Clippers took a 75-70 lead into the fourth. They made 9 of 10 free throws while extending their lead to 90-79.

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George returned for the Clippers and Jokic came back too, and the Nuggets outscored the Clippers 18-8 to trail 98-97.

Ivica Zubac made four straight free throws, but Jokic hit a 3-pointer that cut the Clippers’ lead to 102-100.

Harden missed a jumper and the Nuggets called timeout with five seconds left. Guarded by P.J. Tucker, Jokic’s potential winning 3-point attempt missed as time expired.

Led by nine points from George, the Clippers outscored the Nuggets 17-8 to open the third and take their largest lead, 70-57. Jokic had just four points in the period.

The Clippers got back into it in the second behind their bench, which outscored Denver 21-0 in the first half. After starting 0 for 5, Harden hit a 3-pointer and scored his first 14 points in the period to help the Clippers lead 53-49 at halftime.

The Nuggets raced to a 17-point lead to start the game. Jokic assisted on early baskets by his teammates before he finally scored for the first time with 5:18 left in the first.

Denver’s Jamal Murray sat out with right knee inflammation.