Nuggets transfer previous Jazz in NBA Playoffs in low-scoring Recreation 7
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Jamal Murray helped a heartbroken Donovan Mitchell off the ground for a handshake and hug, a present of respect between gamers who had a memorable battle within the bubble.
They traded historic offensive fireworks for six video games, earlier than Recreation 7 changed into an old style defensive battle.
“It was an important battle. I don’t know what else to say. I’m speechless,” Murray mentioned.
The ending left everybody out of phrases.
Nikola Jokic made the tiebreaking basket with 27 seconds left and the Nuggets superior to the second spherical of the playoffs, beating the Utah Jazz 80-78 on Tuesday evening when Mike Conley’s 3-pointer spun out on the buzzer.
The Nuggets grew to become the twelfth crew in NBA historical past to beat a 3-1 deficit to win a sequence, however solely after they blew a 19-point lead on this recreation.
“Lots of groups would have simply given in, particularly when you think about we’ve been right here 57 days away from our households,” Nuggets coach Michael Malone mentioned.
After Jokic’s basket, the Jazz bought the ball to Mitchell following a timeout. The Nuggets stole it from him and raced down for a quick break, however Torrey Craig missed the layup. Utah rebounded and pushed the ball up the ground to Conley, whose jumper regarded good all the best way till it fell out.
“It regarded good, man. Generally, it’s simply the best way it really works,” Mitchell mentioned.
“We fought exhausting and got here again. I’d go to battle with any considered one of these guys within the locker room, any considered one of these coaches. We may’ve simple chalked it up within the first half. We now have grit and struggle. That’s all you possibly can actually ask for.”
Jokic had 30 factors and 14 rebounds and Murray scored 17 factors. No. 3 seed Denver superior to face the second-seeded Los Angeles Clippers within the Western Convention semifinals.
“Earlier than the sequence began I felt it was going to be an attention-grabbing sequence. However after 3-1 I didn’t suppose it was going to be this attention-grabbing,” Jokic mentioned. “So I’m glad that we received the sport and I’m glad that we received the sequence.”
Mitchell scored 22 factors and Rudy Gobert completed with 19 factors and 18 rebounds after an enormous second half for the Jazz.
Murray shot solely 7 for 21, far off his performances of the previous three video games. So the Nuggets turned extra to Jokic, their All-Star heart who tossed in a brief hook shot within the lane after the Jazz had tied it at 78.
“That’s once you want Nikola to step up,” Malone mentioned.
Murray and Mitchell grew to become the primary pair of gamers to have two 50-point video games in the identical sequence, however the males within the center have been the largest components on this one.
After a quiet first half by which Mitchell was all of the Jazz had going, Gobert started dominating the paint, conserving possessions alive on offense and stopping Denver drives on protection.
However the Nuggets prevailed of their third Recreation 7 within the final two years, having defeated San Antonio within the first spherical final 12 months earlier than getting knocked out by Portland. They performed three extra do-or-die video games within the bubble to increase their keep.
Denver managed the primary half and had a 19-point lead a minute into the third quarter. Mitchell then scored 9 straight factors earlier than Conley hit a 3-pointer that reduce it to 55-48. The Jazz bought all of it the best way right down to 65-60 after Gobert transformed a three-point play for the ultimate factors of the interval.
Utah then bought the primary eight of the fourth, the ultimate six by Gobert, to open a 68-65 lead.
“What I bear in mind about tonight, we have been useless within the water within the first half and weren’t enjoying effectively in a whole lot of methods,” Utah coach Quin Snyder mentioned. “Our group simply saved grinding and saved competing. That to me is as important as something that occurred within the recreation.”
The Jazz received three straight video games after Denver took the opener in additional time, and have been poised to place away the sequence once they led by 15 factors within the second half of Recreation 5.
However Murray, who had scored 50 factors in Recreation 4, rallied the Nuggets and completed with 42, then got here again with 50 once more in Recreation 6, a three-game complete of 142 that had been topped within the playoffs by solely Jerry West and Michael Jordan.
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