One of the many shocking events to occur in 2020 is the stunning upset in the NBA bubble. The Denver Nuggets bounced the Los Angeles Clippers off the court to complete a comeback series win. After trailing the series 3-1, Tuesday night’s 104-89 victory advanced the team to a Western Conference Finals date with Lebron James and the Lakers.
Blowing the Series Lead
The Kawhi Leonard led Clippers were heavily favored to represent the Western Conference in the NBA Finals this season. However, the Nuggets were determined to put a halt to their dreams. Once Denver went down 3-1, voices around the league counted them out. That didn’t stop stars’ Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic from playing their best basketball with their backs against the wall.
A nightmare scenario struck the Clippers as their offense struggled severely during the second half of Game 7. L.A. went from possessing a two-point lead at halftime to choking the game away. All-star small forward Kawhi Leonard managed to score only two points in the third and fourth quarters combined. Leonard shot 1-11 from the field and was 0-4 from 3-point range. Along with his poor performance, small forward Paul George put up three points in the second half. George shot 1-7 from the floor and was 1-6 from beyond the arc.
Playoff P, as he likes to call himself, did not show up and the team proceeded to fold when it mattered the most. Both playmakers combined for zero points in the fourth quarter.
Additionally, the Nuggets became the first team in NBA history to overcome a 3-1 deficit twice in the same postseason. Weeks prior, Denver eliminated the Utah Jazz from the bubble after being down 3-1 once again, ruining their playoff hopes.
Put Some Respect on Our Names
Nuggets sensational point guard Jamal Murray put the teams’ doubters on blast with strong post-game commentary. The young talent silenced Denver’s critics who did not have faith in the team making this deep of a playoff run.
In a post-game interview, Murray had this to say:
Murray finished by stating with confidence how the Nuggets are a top-3 team in the NBA. He believes his squad will be the ones hoisting the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy when it’s all said and done in October.
Western Conference Finals Preview
The star-studded roster comprised of Lebron James and Anthony Davis will match up with a team who’s average age is 25 years old. It will be a battle of the dynamic duos with All-star center Nikola Jokic and phenom point guard Jamal Murray lining up on the opposite end of the court. The youngsters from the Mile High City look to hold their own against a Lakers team that outscored the Nuggets by 28.3 points per 100 possessions in their regular-season series.
The Lakers defeated the Nuggets in three of four meetings during the regular season, with L.A.’s only loss coming in a game where Lebron did not play. In their most recent matchup in the bubble, the Lakers won off of a game-winning 3-pointer by Kyle Kuzma.
Moreover, Los Angeles has dominated the first two rounds of the playoffs, only losing two games thus far. Both losses have come in Game 1s, meaning the Lakers have a perfect 8-0 record after Game 1 this postseason. Although, it’s been proven that the Nuggets play their best basketball when down from behind, as the team, just recently turned a 12-point deficit into a 15-point win.
You can catch Game 1 of the highly-anticipated battle this Friday night at 9 p.m. on TNT as both opponents look to punch their ticket to the 2020 NBA Finals.