LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Flights home from the NBA's bubble are planned whenever a team is on the cusp of elimination, just in case they're needed.
Denver is in no hurry to board that plane.
The never-say-die Nuggets pulled off another season-saving comeback -- and, after rallying from 19 points down with 22 minutes remaining, they'll see the Los Angeles Clippers in Game 7 on Tuesday night for a berth in the Western Conference finals.
Nikola Jokic had 34 points, 14 rebounds and seven assists, and the Nuggets topped the Clippers 111-98 on Sunday to even their West semifinal series at three games apiece. The Nuggets will try to become the first team in NBA history to rally from a pair of 3-1 deficits in the same postseason, after doing so against Utah in the West first round.
The Nuggets were down 16 at the half -- the fourth time out of six games in the series when they trailed by at least that many in a game -- and eventually fell behind by as many as 19 in the third quarter.
Of course, the Nuggets flourish when they're in trouble.
They saved their season in Game 5 of the opening round by rallying from 15 points down in the third quarter against Utah to set the tone for a rally from a 3-1 series deficit. They saved themselves again in Game 5 of this series, getting down by 16 before coming back to save the season again.
On Sunday, it was more of the same.
George hit a 3-pointer shortly after halftime for a 19-point lead and Leonard made a pair of free throws with 8:27 left in the third quarter to put the Clippers up 73-55. That's apparently when the Nuggets decided it was time to get going.
Over the next 10 minutes, the Nuggets outscored the Clippers 30-8. Denver had eight different players score in that stretch, Murray and Morris scoring seven apiece, and the big deficit became an 85-81 lead with 10:16 left.
They ran away and hid from there. Now, it's onto Game 7.
Clippers: Leonard also had eight rebounds and five assists. ... Ivica Zubac had 12 rebounds and George was 11 for 11 from the foul line.
Nuggets: Denver's lead reached 16 in the final moments -- a 35-point turnaround from early in the third. ... The Nuggets are 5-0 this season when facing elimination.
FAST FOUL OUT
The Clippers' Patrick Beverley fouled out with 10:16 remaining, after scoring only two points. It was his sixth foul-out of the season, the second against the Nuggets. And it was only the fourth time he'd fouled out of a playoff game; he did so Sunday in 17:37, more than seven minutes quicker than he'd ever managed to do so in his postseason career.
With Denver's win, the Western Conference finals -- Clippers or Nuggets vs. the Los Angeles Lakers -- are now certain to start on Friday, with games every other day until someone wins the series.