This series looked like it was over five quarters ago. Hell, this series looked like it might be over with 10:10 left in the third quarter. The Clippers followed up peaking their first half lead at the intermission at a very nice looking 16 points by boosting the margin to 19 a few minutes in when Paul George popped in a three to give him 22 points up to that spot in the game.
Things were still holding together for LA when Kawhi Leonard sank two free throws with 8:27 to go in the third. That’s about the last point where we can safely say that things were fine for the team coached by former Marquette great Doc Rivers. The score was 73-55 favoring the Clippers right then.
Denver’s Nikola Jokic got an and-1 on the Nuggets’ next possession — he converted the freebie — to kick off a 22-6 run to end the quarter and a 56-25 run to end the game. You can make a real argument that getting housed 34-19 in the final 12 minutes by Denver is a much bigger problem for LA than the 22-6 run in the final eight minutes of the third. The 22-6 was a warning shot, so to speak. They had time to know the rest of it was coming. But there was nothing that they could do about it, apparently.
This is the second time in a row that Denver has won two straight to get from 3-1 to 3-3 and Game 7 in a series. Obviously, they were successful in pulling off the series comeback last time, otherwise they wouldn’t be here. They’ll be fighting against history to beat LA in Game 7, as no team in NBA history has ever bounced back from two 3-1 deficits in NBA Playoffs history before. Of course, the Clippers have their own kind of history to fight against, as they are now 0-7 all time in franchise history in games that would advance them to the conference finals.
Jokic tortured the Clippers for 34 points, 14 rebounds, and seven assists in the game, so Doc and his guys are going to need to figure out how to defend him better on multiple fronts in Game 7. The Clippers were led by a 33 point game from George and a 25/8/5 performance from Kawhi Leonard.
Up Next: Well, obviously, Game 7 is next. That will be on Tuesday night, with an 8pm Central time tipoff on ESPN.