Nugget Clipping: The Future Is Now for Jamal Murray and Nicola Joke, and It May Not Look Great


The Denver Nuggets have chased double digits in an elimination game five times in these playoffs. All five games they came back for the win. Viewed through the “one game at a time” prism, it was not difficult to believe any of these comebacks. Denver is rich in talent and full of confidence. But in totality, you would expect the law of averages to eventually win.

You can’t go down 3-1 in consecutive series and come back to win both of them, can you?

This literally never happened in the NBA’s 74-year history.

till now.

On Tuesday night, the Nuggets overcame another double-digit deficit, a one-and-double loss to blast the Los Angeles Clippers to a 104–89 Game 7 victory. It is tempting to call this surprising result. But was it? These Nuggets have been in four Game 7s over the past two post seasons, and they have now won three of them. Jamal Murray and Nikola Jock are superstars. Yes, supper star. The consistency of scoring is probably not yet for Murray, but you’ll be hard pressed to find more than three point guards while you have it in a game scenario, certainly when your back is against the wall.

And the passing of Jokic? Watching him patiently waiting for the cutters to open, his apprehension – it’s breathtaking. And he is an elite scorer, with a beautiful post and mid-range play and 3-point range. He calls for dual teams, which feed his passing. Great teams have bankable attributes, elements you can rely on in tight games and moments, and right now the league has some attributes that you rely on jokic passing and Murray scoring.

We are not yet formed to defend Denver. The Nuggets hit the bleeding points of the playoffs. In his eight seeding games in Orlando, he scored 121.7 points per 100 possessions, dead among all 22 teams in the bubble. In their last 10 matches after going down 3–1 to Utah in the first round, the Nuggets allowed 107.1 points per 100 in playoff defensive ratings with a score of 107.1. They just kept Qui Leonard and the Clippers, with the team making it to a conference final. With 89 points in Game 7. throughout the season with the Lakers, the Clip did not score a field goal until the first seven minutes of the fourth quarter.

There is no way around it: Clippers are going to slant for this loss. They were up 3–1. He had a big lead in all three close games. They deserve criticism, to be sure. Leonard fell to 6 for 22 on Tuesday, discussing with LeBron James as the best players in the world. He scored 14 points, zero of which came in the fourth quarter. If LeBron did this in Game 7, the internet would break.

George was worse: shooting 16 out of 4, with 11 of the three, with 10 full points. Like Kavi, George also posted a bagel in the fourth quarter. The self-proclaimed ‘Playoff P’ better reconsidered its posture strategies. If there is a level below zero, I believe in one of his shots going down the stretch of Game 7, and he was less confident than he actually felt on my couch when he Was actually shooting it. The word choke is also easily thrown around in sports. This is not a total exaggeration in this case, but I still think Denver deserves more credit than credit.

The Nuggets collectively and individually steal the souls of the Clips. They won that game and that series, because they were a better team. Murray was brilliant when it mattered most, and again, it shouldn’t be a surprise. He was facing elimination for 42 and 50 points versus the Jazz vs. Denver, and he went 40 in the game 7. Here. Which, of course, was even better, scoring only 16 points on 13 of 5 shootings, including 4 for 0. From three. The Dude deployed 22 rebels and 13 assassins. He was a team-high-plus-22 and became the first player in history to record a Game 7 triple-double before the third quarter ended.

I would not remember if Gary Harris, who is not a big part of Denver’s aforementioned defensive change. He is such a big-time perimeter defender, and Denver’s rotational and switching energy has picked up a lot since his return. And he’s also been hitting a few shots after he couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn all year. He was 6 for 11 from the field in Game 7, and his plus-21 over 37 minutes only overtook Jokic. The way Paul Millsap pointed his six points on six shots was better than that. Jeremy Grant made some big shots.

Listen, Denver is no fluke. He is rich and super deep of top-end talent. They are suddenly playing defense. They play hard, together and very smart. They have not one, but two offensive wells. They have X-Factors like Michael Porter Jr. and Harris who can swing a game on any given night.

People are marking the Lakers for the NBA Finals with this result, acting like Denver was upset was a blessing. Be careful what you wish for. Denver Nuggets are no joke. At this point, we have always talked about them in the future sense, a team growing but not yet, cosmic players away. Well, forget about that. They may not beat the Lakers, but they have arrived. Their future is now. And right now, it may not look any brighter.