Nicolas Batum’s incredible fourth quarter caps huge game as Clippers hold off Pacers

Nicolas Batum’s incredible fourth quarter caps huge game as Clippers hold off Pacers

The abyss beckoned, the Clippers’ grasp slowly slipping, the game sinking into the void where wins go to die.

It seemed impossible they could lose this game. Not when they’d put up their highest point total of the season. Not when Nicolas Batum had detonated for 20 fourth-quarter points on his way to a season-high 32.

Yet there the Indiana Pacers were, down just three points with 31 seconds to play. One wrong move and the Clippers were staring their third loss in a row in the face, directly ahead of a grueling, eight-game road trip.

Reggie Jackson would have none of it. He’d struggled in a recent stretch, but he willed himself to 26 points — and with the game on the line, he exploded to the rim and slammed a two-hand dunk to lead the Clippers to a rollercoaster 139-133 win Monday at Crypto.com Arena.

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Jackson hadn’t shot better than 40% for seven games. He made just one of seven three-pointers against the Pacers. So he attacked the rim with ferocity, driving to the basket for a flurry of layups and dunks in the fourth quarter, never settling for jumpers when the Clippers needed him most.

Marcus Morris Sr. got into the act of slump-busting too, dropping 21 points on eight-for-13 shooting, finding his patented midrange turnaround again after a recent stretch of poor shooting.

“They’re our two guys we’re going to play through,” coach Tyronn Lue said of Jackson and Morris before the game, “and so when they play well, we play well.”

Even with Jackson‘s and Morris’ heroics, it was the veteran, often-quiet wing Batum who truly electrified the crowd in the second half. He buried seven threes that each felt more important than the last.

Amir Coffey contributed 16 points and a team-high seven assists in a starting role, with center Ivica Zubac adding 10 points while Terance Mann, Eric Bledsoe and Isaiah Hartenstein each had nine points.

Caris LeVert led the Pacers with 26 points while Chris Duarte scored 24 off the bench. Center Domantas Sabonis finished with 19 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists while Justin Holiday added 18 points, making five of eight three-pointers.

The Clippers (22-23) will fly to Denver next for a Wednesday clash with the reigning most valuable player, Nikola Jokic, before a seven-game tour across Eastern Conference cities.

Currently spinning their wheels in the midst of their conference’s play-in race, the Clippers will have a chance to pick up some traction against East teams in a similar spot like the New York Knicks, Washington Wizards and Charlotte Hornets.

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