Paul George played superb defense, Kawhi Leonard was dominating the floor, and the LA Clippers defeated the Denver Nuggets this Wednesday night, 96-85.
The main contenders for winning the Larry O’Brien trophy are one win away from the best postseason result in the franchise history. Clippers now lead 3-1 against the Nuggets and are apparently reaching their rhythm. This is the second time in this series that they held Denver under the 100-point mark, with the defense being the key to that.
Even though he had just 10 points, Paul George was the game-changer tonight, as he stopped Jamal Murray in the crucial moments, limiting the young guard to only 18 points and six field goals.
“We knew that when we were getting him,” Doc Rivers spoke after the game. “It gets lost at times, with P.G., because he’s such a great shooter. The better shooter you are the more people forget how good you are defensively.”
Clips got out on the court locked in, starting to harass the rivals immediately. The first period ended with 26-12 in their favor, and it was obvious already then that the Nuggets aren’t going to have any fun in this match.
Still, the team from Denver bounced back late in the second and early in the third, once they had a 12-0 run, which saw them leveling with the LA at 48-both.
Kawhi and the boys replied with a 21-5 burst, which would eventually close this one and separate the two sides. Until the end of the game, Clippers even had a 19-point lead, the highest tonight.
While George played defense, Kawhi Leonard was playing everything. The Claw ended the night one dime short of a triple-double. He had 30 points, 11 boards, four steals, and two rejections, making himself the man of the match.
Montrezl Harrell had 15 points for the Clips, Lou Williams 12, while Marcus Morris and Zubac added 11 both.
Nikola Jokic again led the way for the Nuggets with 26 points, 11 rebounds, and six assists. The Joker once again moved Rivers, who spoke highly of him.
“I don’t know if there is a comparison. He has a little bit of everybody,” Doc said. “He has all the footwork and the moves of an (Hakeem) Olajuwon, the lanky and … goofy intelligence of Kevin McHale. Shoot, man, he’s just good.”
Jamal Murray had just 18 points and seven assists without a noticeable impact on the game. It seems that the Clippers’ heavy defense on him is starting to give results.
Michael Porter Jr. scored 13 of his 15 points in the second period, and it seems that the youngster isn’t happy with the way the ball has been distributed recently. After the game, he had a pretty interesting comment on his drop of productivity in the second half, when he didn’t score a single bucket.
“To beat that team, we’ve gotta get more players involved,” indicating that Malone didn’t use him enough.
“To beat that team, we've gotta get more players involved.”
MPJ on wanting to get more involved on offense after Game 4 loss pic.twitter.com/iI7qRIHAeC
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) September 10, 2020
His interview caused a lot of reactions on the social networks, with the older players like Damian Lillard judging the rookie for his action. Porter has been good coming off the bench in the playoffs, and his unclear interview might be a sign of frustration for falling behind in the series.
The Nuggets were already in this position during the first round of the playoffs, once Utah Jazz had a 3-1 advantage. Jokic and the boys rallied back to force game seven and eliminate the Jazzers, but in those three games, they had superb Jamal Murray, who is way below his usual level in this series.
Game 5 is this Friday.
Nikola Velickovic is a sports journalist who loves to write and read on all sports. Nikola contributes both news updates and functions as a sports breaking news writer at WagerBop.