Given a chance to make history, the Clippers instead gave life to the idea they might instead repeat it.
Leading by seven points with only 12 minutes separating them from advancing to the first conference final in the franchise's 50-year history, the Clippers were blitzed by Denver's hot-shooting fourth quarter en route to a 111-105 loss Friday in Game 5 of their Western Conference semifinal.
The Clippers made 28% of their shots in the final quarter while Denver shot 61%, making seven of its nine 3-pointers.
Jamal Murray had 26 points to lead Denver and Nikola Jokic scored 22. But the biggest shot belonged to reserve Michael Porter Jr., the 6-foot-10 forward who'd suggested before the series that he had a bit of extra motivation given that the Clippers had passed on drafting him.
One game after stirring controversy by stating publicly that his coach's second-half play calls had effectively handcuffed his scoring, Porter drilled a 27-foot 3-pointer with 1:11 remaining and his team up two points.
Two possessions later, Porter stuffed Clippers center Ivica Zubac at the rim.
Kawhi Leonard scored 36 points and Paul George added 26 for the Clippers, who made 42% of their shots overall.
The defeat revived torturous memories of 2015, when a late collapse in Game 5 of a second-round series against Houston spurred the Rockets' rally from down 3-1 in the series to outlast the Clippers in seven games.
Greif reported from Los Angeles.
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