Sep 16, 2020
Nuggets stun Clippers in Game 7, make history with another 3-1 comeback
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The Denver Nuggets stunned the LA Clippers in Game 7, advancing to the Western Conference Finals.
For the second time in the 2020 NBA Playoffs, the Denver Nuggets overcame a 3-1 deficit to win the series. In the process, not only did they become the first team in NBA history to do so, but they advanced to the Western Conference Finals and sent home the second title favorite to exit these playoffs prematurely in the conference semifinals.
Following yet another second-half collapse, the LA Clippers now join the Milwaukee Bucks among the eliminated title contenders, falling to an abysmal 0-8 all time in potential closeout games that would’ve sent this franchise to its first ever conference finals appearance.
Despite being the talk of the NBA free agency period last summer when Paul George maneuvered his way to Los Angeles to join Kawhi Leonard, the Clippers’ two superstars came up short in Game 7 on Tuesday night, resulting in a stunning 15-point victory for the Nuggets, who were massacred in Game 1, trailed 3-1 in the series and came back from double-digit deficits in Games 5, 6 and 7 to improbably win the series.Final Denver Nuggets 104 Los Angeles Clippers 89
Jamal Murray has 25 points at the half and had 20 alone in the second quarter ???????? pic.twitter.com/BdmR042O0L
— ESPN (@espn) September 16, 2020
As has been the case so many times in this series, the Clippers’ offense completely died in the second half, and Denver’s stars sensed when to take over in order to propel this franchise to its first conference finals since 2009.
LA took a 61-54 lead two minutes into the third quarter, but the Nuggets went on a 16-2 run over the next five minutes to turn a 7-point deficit into a 7-point lead. Denver outscored the Clips 28-18 in the third quarter, and Doc Rivers’ offense completely shriveled up in the fourth quarter, as his team had two points midway through the final frame and didn’t record its first fourth-quarter field goal until the 5-minute mark.
The Nuggets advance to the Conference Finals despite having a point differential of -21 this playoffs. pic.twitter.com/gAj0ZSSI6c
— StatMuse (@statmuse) September 16, 2020
Murray led the way with 40 points and 5 assists on 15-of-26 shooting, including 6-for-13 from 3-point range. Nikola Jokic notched a 16-point, 22-rebound, 13-assist triple-double, becoming the first player to record a 15-rebound triple-double through three quarters in NBA playoff history. Gary Harris and Jerami Grant added 14 points apiece in the win.
Montrezl Harrell led the Clips with 20 points on 7-of-10 shooting off the bench, but Leonard struggled to the tune of 14 points, 6 assists and 6 rebounds, shooting just 6-for-22 from the field. Paul George was just as bad, finishing his Game 7 with 10 points on 4-of-16 shooting.Next: 5 candidates to replace Mike DAntoni as Rockets head coach
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Lakers outlast Nuggets in Game 4 to move win away from NBA Finals
The Los Angeles Lakers are a victory away from returning to the NBA Finals — and only another comeback from 3-1 down by the Denver Nuggets can stop them.
Anthony Davis scored 34 points, LeBron James had 26 and the Lakers beat the Nuggets 114-108 on Thursday night in Game 4 of the Western Conference finals.
Davis got the Lakers off to a fast start with his scoring and James helped them finish it with his defense, forcing Jamal Murray into some late misses after the guard had kept the Nuggets in it with an array of high-difficulty baskets.
James added nine rebounds and eight assists, and the Lakers had 12 offensive rebounds for a whopping 25-6 advantage in second-chance points.
Game 5 is Saturday, when the Lakers can reach the NBA Finals for the first time in a decade.
The Nuggets will be facing elimination for the seventh time in the bubble. They were down 3-1 against Utah in the first round and climbed out of the same hole against the Los Angeles Clippers in the West semifinals.LeBron James (r.) celebrates with Anthony Davis during Game 4 against the Nuggets.AP
But they couldn’t come back in this game, getting within one point in the opening minute of the fourth quarter but constantly turned back from there by a key stop or rebound by the Lakers.
The Lakers have 16 championships, one behind Boston for the most in NBA history, but they haven’t played for one since winning their most recent title in 2010.
The Lakers started Dwight Howard at center and he had 12 points and 11 rebounds, helping put Nikola Jokic into foul trouble.
Murray had 32 points and eight assists, but Jokic finished with just 16 points and seven rebounds.
Davis scored 27 points in Game 3 but the 6-foot-10 forward acknowledged that his two-rebound performance was “unacceptable.” He came out much more aggressively Thursday after the Lakers played from behind much of the last game.
With an array of short jumpers, Davis made his first six shots before anyone else on the Lakers made a basket. Then Howard scored on consecutive follow shots before James followed with his first two field goals.
Murray kept the Lakers from getting too far away with a 7-for-8 start. He followed his acrobatic layup around James with 2 1/2 minutes remaining in the half with a pair of free throws that cut it to four, before the Lakers took a 60-55 edge to the locker room.
The Nuggets shot 59% in the first half but the Lakers had an 18-2 advantage in second-chance points.
The Lakers seemed to be taking control when Rajon Rondo and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope combined for a flurry that pushed the lead to 11 with under 4 minutes remaining in the third, but Michael Porter Jr. hit two 3-pointers late in the period that cut it to 87-84 going to the fourth.