Clippers vs. Nuggets Score, Takeaway: Los Angeles West win series 2-1 over Denver in semifinal matchup


The Denver Nuggets gave the Los Angeles Clippers all they could handle in Game 3, but after a quarter back-and-forth, this series is where we expected after three matches. The Clippers lead the Nuggets 2–1 after a 113–107 victory behind their two superstars. Paul George carried the offensive load with 32 points in 12-of-18 shooting, but it was Qui Leonard who sealed the deal defensively with a key block from Jamal Murray with his middle finger.

Meanwhile, the Nuggets ruined a major out of Nikola Jokic, as his All-Star center finished the game with 32 points, 12 rebellions and eight assists. Murray had a difference of inability to provide secondary scoring, as he was 5-of-17 from the field with Patrick Beverley hounding them all series. The pressure is now on the nuggets. If they can’t respond in Game 4, they can be done as soon as Game 5.

The Nuggets were called Drs. Jekyll is needed, not Mr. Hyde

Jamal Murray has always run hot and cold, but this postson is ridiculous. They have six games, which is four games between the two, but four games under 15. He shot 5-of-17 from the field, reducing him to 37.7 percent shooting against the Clippers. Patrick Beverley is at least somewhat responsible. He has played the lockdown defense on Murray for many series. There is also a thigh injury which she exaggerated in the last round.

But after Denver’s first-round series against Utah, it appeared as if Murray had pulled off his long-winded streak. He looked like a superstar when the Nuggets needed him the most. Well, they need him again now, and he disappeared on Monday. If it happens again on Wednesday, the series ends.

Welcome, Playoff P

Paul George’s playoff history has been contested, especially since his slow debut against the Dallas Mavericks, in addition to Ed Nausum. But in their last five games? George is averaging 24.6 points on 49.4 percent shooting from the field and 43.6 percent behind the arc. He scored 32 points in a game on Monday, in which his best teammates struggled. While Qui Leonard made a lot of big plays, he finished with only 23 points from 1-behind from behind the arc. Lou Williams was decent from the field at ages 4 to 11, but they are the two primary shot-creators for the Clippers. When they leave, the entire team must stop.

They were not because Paul George has finally begun to look like Paul George. This is true at both ends of the floor. His help was instrumental in slowing down the defense Murray and offering token resistance to Nikola Jokic, which made the Clippers a swamp of bigs. George’s first four playoff games were disastrous, but since then he has needed to make every single sidekick Kavi the Clippers champion.

How easily can the switch be flipped?

The Clippers are on balance, where they need to be. They are leading an inferior opponent through three games in the second round series. But what happened in the first half of this series, and what happened against Dallas in the first round, should be related to the Clippers. Their effort is not nearly enough. Clipper supporters would argue that they are so talented that they can easily flip the switch and dominate anyone, but it took them most of the second half to get the ship right against Denver.

Historically, some contenders have been able to get away from the coast until maximum effort is absolutely necessary. But over the past decade, teams like the Boston Celtics and Miami Heat had years of championship experience and chemistry coming back. When the effort is all but missing, course-correction is quite simple.

But the effort is not missing with the Clippers. He lacks the muscle memory that makes the later versions of the best versions of the Celtics or LeBron James-teams special. Even when they are playing at full speed, they don’t instinctively know what teammates are going to do, which can lead to stalled offense and easy buckets at the other end. The Clippers are not there yet. Their starting lineup played less than 150 minutes together during the regular season. Lebron James and Anthony Davis played 1,456 minutes together during the regular season. Leonard and George were below 900.

This is not a cookie-cutter roster. George and Leonard are not inherently complementary players. He has several other ball-handlers still accommodated in secondary roles. They now have to play two different unique opponents, throwing a planned fixture on defense. The Clippers simply cannot assume that their talent will overwhelm the field. They can’t be jogging through quarters and games, because where the Nuggets can’t get enough to capitalize on it, the Lakers, Rockets and whoever comes out of the Eastern Conference are for sure.