LAKE BUENA VISTA, Florida – The dynamic Denver duo of Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic led another stunning change as the Nuggets advanced to the Western Conference Finals for the first time since 2009.
Murray scored 40 points, Jokic had a double-double from the third quarter and Denver also overcame a two-digit deficit to defeat the Los Angeles Clippers 104-89 in the game Tuesday night.
Denver became the first team in NBA history to slow down from a 3-1 series deficit twice in the same postseason.
Even more history: The Nuggets are the third largest professional sports team in the United States to show up from a 3-1 loss deficit in the same playoffs, joining the 1985 Kansas City Royals and 2003 Minnesota Wild.
Denver will face LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers in the conference finals.
The 7-foot Jokic had a monster game with 16 points, 13 assists and 22 rebounds, which were the most by a Nuggets player in an NBA playoff game. He broke his record of 19 which he set last season and shared with Marcus Camby.
In a known trend, the Nuggets recovered by 12 in the first half. They also dragged 61-54 with 10:50 left between the third when they caught fire. The Nuggets went on a 35-13 run to build a 15-point lead in the fourth quarter.
They were led by 20.
Murray helped the Nuggets pour him over the stretch to give coach Michael Malone a 49th birthday present.
The team has also recovered from double-digit margins in its last two games also to stun the Clippers.
Despite the addition of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, the Clippers did not make it to the conference finals, where they never did. They fell to 0-8 all the time in games where they could make a trip to the conference finals.
Leonard finished with 14 points on the 6-of-22 shot, while George had 10 points on the 4-of-16 shot.
It’s the Denver talent duo that stole the show.
Jokic insisted that the third-seeded Nuggets felt no pressure. He said Game 7 was just another game. After all, this was Denver 7’s fourth straight game dated from the playoffs last season.
After chasing 12 in the first half, the Nuggets worked their way into the game behind Murray’s shot. He scored 25 before the intermission while the Clippers elected him to double team Jokic.