A collection that includes a few of the most spectacular particular person scoring efforts in NBA playoff historical past might solely finish a method: a brutal grind to the end line.
The Nuggets narrowly escaped Recreation 7 with an 80-78 win over the Jazz on Tuesday night time, finishing the primary Three-1 postseason comeback for the reason that Cavaliers famously took down the Warriors within the 2016 NBA Finals. Denver survived a chaotic ultimate sequence during which Torrey Craig botched a layup from point-blank vary and Mike Conley missed a possible game-winning Three-pointer as time expired.
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This picture says every thing. And also you thought soccer was a recreation of inches.
With the Jazz behind them, the Nuggets should now put together for a Western Convention semifinal matchup in opposition to the Clippers. Earlier than we soar forward to the following spherical, although, let’s undergo three takeaways from an unbelievable contest.
Nikola Jokic is Mr. Recreation 7
Jamal Murray deserved each single piece of reward he acquired all through this first-round collection, but it surely was Jokic who shut the door on the Jazz.
“The Joker” scored a game-high 30 factors, grabbed 14 rebounds and dished out 4 assists in 39 minutes. The 25-year-old took Rudy Gobert, a two-time Defensive Participant of the Yr, into the put up with lower than a minute to go in regulation and hit a spinning hook shot that turned out to be the deciding basket.
“Jamal was taking part in — he was taking part in phenomenal,” Jokic informed ESPN’s Cassidy Hubbarth after the sport. “I can not let him simply go there and die. I am his accomplice. I would like to assist him as a lot as he helped me within the final recreation.”
In three profession Recreation 7s, Jokic is averaging 26.7 factors and 14.zero rebounds. Regardless of considerations about his conditioning — and people considerations ought to have been thrown within the trash earlier than this 12 months’s playoffs — Jokic continues to provide in large moments.
Nikola Jokic made profitable basket over Rudy Gobert and completed with 30 factors and 14 rebounds. Jokic had at the least 20 and 10 in all Three Recreation 7’s he is performed. Solely Tim Duncan, LeBron James, Dirk Nowitzki have had Three such Recreation 7’s over final 20 seasons in response to ESPN Stats and Information.
— Ohm Youngmisuk (@NotoriousOHM) September 2, 2020
The Nuggets actually missed Gary Harris’ protection
He shot simply 1-of-9 from the sphere in Recreation 7, however Harris made a serious affect on the defensive finish.
Harris, who missed all the NBA common season restart and the Nuggets’ first 5 playoff video games with a hip damage, gave Denver a much-needed choice to protect Donovan Mitchell (22 factors on 9-of-22 capturing). On Utah’s first sideline out of bounds (SLOB) play within the closing seconds, Harris denied Mitchell the ball and compelled the Jazz to name a timeout. He then poked the ball away from Mitchell on the following play, resulting in the March Insanity-style ending.
But it surely wasn’t simply Harris’ work on Mitchell that stood out. He additionally performed some severe lockdown protection on Jordan Clarkson.
That is the following capturing possessions.
Gary Harris simply fucking swallowed Clarkson entire. That is the definition of placing clamps on somebody. pic.twitter.com/o95OqiAm73
— T.J. McBride (@TJMcBrideNBA) September 2, 2020
It is solely proper that Harris acquired the stamp of approval from “The Grindfather” himself, Tony Allen.
Gary Harris get the Mr. 1st group stamp! Couldn’t rating however made the most important play of the sport 💯
— Tony Allen (@aa000G9) September 2, 2020
A standing ovation for Mitchell and Murray
These guys had been on a unique completely different aircraft of existence.
Mitchell and Murray mixed for 475 factors over seven video games, essentially the most whole factors by opposing gamers in a playoff collection in NBA historical past, per ESPN Stats and Information. They every scored with ridiculous effectivity, posting capturing percentages that might be tough to duplicate in a online game.
Jamal Murray: 31.6 PPG on 55.zero/53.Three/92.zero capturing
Donovan Mitchell: 36.Three PPG on 52.9/51.6/94.eight capturing
They’re simply the second and third gamers in NBA historical past to common 30+ PPG with 50/50/90 capturing splits in a postseason collection (min. 1 3PA per recreation).
— Justin Kubatko (@jkubatko) September 2, 2020
Nothing however respect for these two stars. It is perhaps a cliche, but it surely really was a disgrace somebody needed to lose.