The Los Angeles Clippers started their Western Conference semis pretty confidently against the Denver Nuggets. Kawhi Leonard and the boys blew out the rivals from Colorado, 120-97, making a statement that they aren’t going to have any mercy at this stage of the season.
Arguably the biggest candidates for winning the Larry O’Brien trophy demolished the rivals in the second period, 38-20, gaining the lead which they easily kept until the end of the contest. A 22-7 rush in the second part of that sequence was the game-changer and the turning point.
After that, they would lock down the Nuggets’ offense, allowing them to score just 16 points in the third quarter, killing the morale of Jokic and the boys.
The leading two figures in Denver, Jokic and Jamal Murray were restrained to 27 points combined, 11-for-29 from the field. Jokic had 15 buckets with three boards and assists each, in 30 minutes, while Murray added 12 and 6 dimes. The two were under heavy pressure of the Clippers’ rough defense, who made them struggle to score.
Nuggets were pretty much inferior in all the aspects of the game. They had fewer rebounds, 40-45, assist, 20-23, and were much worse with field goal percentages. The Clippers were 57.1% from the field, compared to 42.2% of the rivals. On top of that, Denver made just nine threes in 36 attempts, while on the other side, LAC was 10-for-24.
Kawhi Leonard had a superb game, hitting 12 of his 16 shots from the floor, for 29 points, three assists, and two blocks. The Claw was unstoppable in those 32 minutes spent on the floor.
Light work for Kawhi 😤
He put up 29 PTS in the Clippers' Game 1 win. pic.twitter.com/dSCispZhEj
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) September 4, 2020
Paul George scored 19 with seven rebounds and four assists, while Marcus Morris Sr. added 18, with four threes and five boards. Montrezl Harrell contributed with 15 off the bench, and Lou Williams had 10.
Paul Millsap was one rebound short of reaching a double-double for the Nuggets with 13 points and nine rebounds, and Jerami Grant had 12 points, the same as Monte Morris off the bench.
Michael Porter Jr. was limited to five buckets in 23 minutes of playing, shooting 2-for-9 from the field and missing all of his six three-pointers.
Nuggets had to go through all seven games against the Utah Jazz in the first round, and it seems that it left some trace on their fitness in this contest.
Game 2 of this matchup is this Saturday.