Updated: Sep 16, 2020
The Denver Nuggets are pushing their postseason run behind an incredible first-round performance from Jamal Murray. Denver was down 1-3 in the series but eventually forced a Game 7 and eliminated the Jazz. This led to them being matched up against the Clippers, who beat the Dallas Mavericks in six games. Game 1 of the Clippers-Nuggets series saw L.A. come away with the win in a blowout, and in Game 2, Denver leveled the series up while leading the entire game. Game 3 was much closer than the previous two, with only a margin of six points. Both teams had an instead even scoring breakdown, as both rosters have immense depth. Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell, two of the critical role players on the Clippers, were unable to check their shots, but Paul George and Kawhi Leonard were able to get into their zones and scored 32 and 23, respectively. On the contrary, Nikola Jokic put up an impressive 32 points, 12 rebounds, and 8 assists.
Looking ahead at Game 4, the one common goal for the Nuggets is efficiency. When you compare the field goal % margin of both the teams, the result is staggering. Los Angeles went 41/75 (54.7%) from the field, while Denver only had 44/94 (46.8%) of their shots. Both teams had 11 3-pointers, although the Nuggets took three more attempts than the Clippers. Another mind-boggling stat is L.A.'s 26 free-throw attempts in comparison to 10 for Denver. L.A. got over one-sixth of their points from the charity stripe last night, through their ability to draw fouls while driving to the rim. The Clippers were also dominant on the floor's defensive end, with four blocks and forcing 7 turnovers. The game's highlight play was Kawhi's impressive one-finger block against Murray's dunk attempt, which came late in the fourth quarter.
The Nuggets need to find a way around the Klaw's defensive presence. At times, he can be instrumental on both ends of the floor, especially when his renowned defense kicks in. In that time, basketball becomes a sport where "good defense can beat good offense," both physically and mentally. Partnered with Leonard is arguably one of the best two-way players in the league in Paul George. "Playoff P" has been putting in work after a disappointing performance against the Mavericks in the first round. George finished with 32 points along with 2 steals at the defensive end. Paul's production has been growing on the offensive end this series while maintaining 2 SPG. Even after the show he put on, he humbly vowed "to provide more support for Kawhi." This should be taken as a warning for the Nuggets, who failed to keep up with George's standards last game. And even though the Clippers are favorites to win the series, the Nuggets might just be able to do what it takes to come out on top.