Denver’s dynamic duo of Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic led one other beautiful turnaround because the Nuggets superior to the Western Convention finals for the primary time since 2009.
Murray scored 40 factors, Jokic had a triple-double by the third quarter and Denver once more overcame a double-digit deficit to shock the Los Angeles Clippers 104-89 in Sport 7 on Tuesday evening.
Denver grew to become the primary staff in NBA historical past to rally from a 3-1 collection deficit twice in the identical postseason. The staff beat Utah in Sport 7 within the first spherical.
“These guys stepped up on the largest second,” stated Nuggets coach Mike Malone, who turned 49 on Tuesday. “You discover out quite a bit about folks in these moments. Man, did we go the character take a look at or what?”
The Nuggets made just a little extra historical past: they’re the third staff within the US main professional sports activities to rally from a pair of 3-1 deficits in the identical playoffs, becoming a member of the 1985 Kansas Metropolis Royals and 2003 Minnesota Wild.
Denver will face LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers within the convention finals. They’ll be the underdogs, however that’s advantageous with Murray.
“It’s enjoyable to silence all people,” stated Murray, who scored 25 within the first half.
They actually quieted the noise across the Clippers, who hoped the additions of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George would cause them to their first-ever convention finals and past. However LA’s stars fell flat.
“It hurts. It hurts. However we transfer on,” George stated. “12 months 1 collectively, first run collectively, after all we wished to win this. However we’ve been very optimistic about us being collectively and constructing one thing taking place the highway.”
Leonard completed with 14 factors on six-of-22 capturing, whereas George had 10 factors on 4-of-16 capturing. The Clippers fell to 0-Eight all-time in video games the place they may clinch a visit to the convention finals.
This marked the third time that coach Doc Rivers was on the dropping finish of a collection the place his staff led 3-1. It additionally occurred when he was with Orlando in opposition to Detroit in 2003, and with the Clippers in opposition to Houston in 2015.
“I’m the coach and I’ll take any blame for it. However we didn’t meet our expectations, clearly,” Rivers stated.
The Nuggets celebrated after the sport by dumping water on one another.
“This can be a actually attention-grabbing staff,” Jokic stated. “We don’t have many superstars.”
The 7ft Jokic had a monster sport with 16 factors, 13 assists and 22 rebounds, which had been essentially the most by a Nuggets participant in an NBA playoff sport. He broke his report of 19 that he set final season and shared with Marcus Camby.
Denver had additionally rallied from double-digit deficits of their final two video games to stun the Clippers.
“We had been proper there. There’s no excuses,” Leonard stated. “We should always have completed it off. Like I stated, the final three video games just about mirrored one another.”
Jokic insisted the third-seeded Nuggets weren’t feeling any stress. He stated Sport 7 was simply one other sport. In any case, this was Denver’s fourth straight Sport 7 relationship to the playoffs final season.
“Actually, you would simply see the distinction within the two groups. That staff’s been collectively,” Rivers stated. “We haven’t. And you would see it because the video games went on.”
Denver’s plans had been to benefit from the second briefly, anyway, earlier than preparing for the Lakers.
“It’s a must to have fun the moments,” Malone stated. “This can be a second. It’s my birthday. We’re going to go celebration.”
In Tuesday’s different sport, Jimmy Butler’s three-point play with 12 seconds left put Miami forward for good, Bam Adebayo completed it off with a shocking rejection of Jayson Tatum on the rim on the following Boston Celtics possession, and the Miami Warmth struck first within the Japanese Convention finals with a 117-114 win in Sport 1.