Nuggets stun the Clippers in Game 7 to advance to the West finals

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Denver proceed to the Western Conference Finals after a 104-89 win over the Clippers

Tristan Baldeo, Staff Writer

The Denver Nuggets return to the Western Conference Finals for the first time since 2009, in a way that almost everyone would deem unfathomable.

The Denver Nuggets went on to beat the Los Angeles Clippers in an eventful Game 7, ending 104-89 after the Nuggets managed to overcome a 14-point deficit in the second half. This comes as a surprise as the Clippers, originally favorites to win the NBA title this year coming into the season by many, walk away choking the series after being up 3-1.

The Nuggets duo of center Nikola Jokic and point guard Jamal Murray led the way throughout the series, and being down 3-1 at one point they had nothing to lose. Jokic went on to average 24.4 points, 13.4 rebounds and 6.6 assists throughout the series while Murray averaged 22.6 points, 4.4 rebounds and 6.4 assists. This makes them the first team to overcome a 3-1 deficit two times in one playoff run following their first round series against the Utah Jazz.

The Clippers superstar duo of small forward Kawhi Leonard and shooting guard Paul George tried to maintain control, yet demonstrated more inconsistencies throughout the series when it mattered the most. Kawhi had a series average of 24.3 points, 8.6 rebounds and 5.9 assists while Paul George trailed 21.7 points, 5.4 rebounds and 3.6 assists, and while things may look good on paper, they seemed more problematic on the court itself.

The pressure was on the Clippers during Game 7, that of which both of the Nuggets’ stars had stellar performances. Murray led the way with a whopping 40 points on amazing shooting percentages while Jokic finished the night off with a monster performance of 16 points, 22 rebounds and 13 assists.

Meanwhile the Clippers had one of the most disheartening nights from their two superstars. Leonard capped off the night with only 14 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists, shooting 6-22 from the field. George failed to do any better with 10 points, 4 rebounds and 2 assists, shooting 4-16. The Clippers have never made it to the Conference Finals in franchise history and this loss only makes it worse as they become 0-8 in games in which they could have advanced.

With this loss, the Clippers have cemented themselves as a team with one of the most disappointing playoff runs in recent history. At the start of the season many analysts had the Clippers as the favorite to walk away with the championship this year, to fall to the Nuggets in the second round is just embarrassing in the eyes of many. The lack of time to mesh together could very well be the biggest factor for this, however only time will tell if they decide to proceed into next season with the exact same roster.

The Denver Nuggets, however, are a team poised for success in the long run and will only be tested further as they continue to play the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference Finals later this week.

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