Paul Millsap scored 14 of his 17 points in the third quarter, Michael Porter Jr. made a late 3-pointer and the Denver Nuggets overcame a 15-point, second-half deficit to stun the Los Angeles Clippers 111-105 on Friday night in Game 5.
Denver — down 16 in the first half — trailed 61-46 with 9:42 remaining in the third before rallying behind the 35-year-old Millsap.
The Nuggets took their first lead on Nikola Jokic's 3-pointer with 7:06 left and extended it to eight. After the Clippers pulled within a basket, Porter hit a deep 3-pointer with 1:11 remaining to all but wrap it up.
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Jamal Murray finished with 26 points, and Jokic added 22 points and 14 rebounds to help the Nuggets pull to 3-2 in the best-of-seven series. Game 6 is Sunday.
This marked Denver's fourth elimination-game win of this postseason, the team's most since capturing six win-or-go-home games during the 1994 playoff run. The Nuggets came back from a 3-1 deficit to win their first-round series against Utah.
Kawhi Leonard scored 36 points and Paul George added 26 for the Clippers, who are searching for the franchise’s first appearance in a conference finals. They’re 0-6 in games where they could clinch a trip to the conference finals.
Millsap and Marcus Morris jawed at each other face-to-face late in the first half and had to be separated. Morris was given a technical foul.
Nuggets: Gary Harris fouled out with 1:58 remaining. He had seven points.
Clippers: G Patrick Beverley finished with 10 points. ... Morris added 12 points.
Clippers coach Doc Rivers and Nuggets coach Michael Malone reflected on their memories on the 19th anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001.
Rivers had just returned home in Orlando after a trip to Australia when he awoke to the news that began to hit. Nearly 3,000 people were killed as al-Qaida hijackers took control of four planes, sending two of the planes into New York’s World Trade Center, one into the Pentagon and the fourth into a field in Pennsylvania.
“Just like every American that day, we were in awe. We were saddened and we just needed answers,” Rivers said. “It was a sad day for our country.”
Malone was working in New York under coach Jeff Van Gundy and was at team’s practice facility. He remembered an equipment manager telling them to turn on the television.
“It was surreal. You felt so vulnerable,” Malone said. "I reflected on that today with it being 19 years ago and the tragic memories that you have.”
Malone said he spoke with Porter about publicly expressing his frustrations over his role like the rookie did after Game 4.
“During the playoffs, the last thing you want is any type of distraction,” Malone said. “If those frustrations are there for Michael, for anybody, it’s much better to keep those conversations internal, in the locker room and among ourselves."