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Martin lifts Clippers past Nuggets

Kenyon Martin played villain against his former team on Wednesday, as he tipped in the go-ahead basket in the final minute and blocked Ty Lawson on the ensuing possession to lift the Clippers over the playoff-hopeful Nuggets, 104-98.

Chris Paul scored 21 points and handed out eight assists for streaking Los Angeles, which has won five straight and can jump the Lakers for the Pacific Division lead if they fall to the Warriors Wednesday night.

Denver, which had won four of five coming in, is still in the seventh position in the Western Conference playoff race. Lawson had a team-high 24 points in the setback.

There were five ties and four lead changes in a seesaw fourth quarter.

With under a minute to play, Paul missed a floater in the lane, and Andre Miller was fouled in transition before making both free throws for a tie game, 96-96.

Paul was forced into another miss at the other end, but this time Martin, who played the previous seven seasons in Denver, jumped over rookie Kenneth Faried and tipped in the miss from the right baseline with 27.1 ticks to go.

Miller fed Lawson with a lob underneath the basket coming out of the timeout, but Martin came from behind and blocked the point guard cleanly to give the Clippers possession.

Paul and Mo Williams each made two free throws on consecutive trips to seal the win.

The Nuggets shot 15-of-21 (71 percent) from the field in the first quarter to jump out to a 34-22 lead, then hit a cold spell in the second.

They were still on top 53-47 at the break, but the Clippers went on a 14-2 run to start the third, which ended knotted at 76-all.

Game Notes

The Clippers, who have already secured their first postseason appearance since 2005-06, made 14 three-pointers but were outscored in the paint, 58-28...Williams scored 19 points for LA, which got 12 points, seven rebounds and five assists from Blake Griffin...Denver had a five-game home winning streak snapped.