Nuggets rally from the brink to extend series vs. Clippers

Down by as much as 16 points in Game 5 against the Los Angeles Clippers, the Denver Nuggets found a way to survive.

The Nuggets prevailed 111-105 in a must-win game on Friday to force a Game 6, down 3-2 in the Western Conference semifinals. It took a stunning second-half comeback, but that might just be the Denver’s way.

“We play best when our backs are against the wall. Simple as that,” Nuggets star Jamal Murray said after the game.

Nuggets’ comeback started with an argument

Denver Nuggets' Nikola Jokic (15) celebrates after a basket during the second half of an NBA conference semifinal playoff basketball game against the Los Angeles Clippers, Friday, Sept. 11, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
There will be a Game 6 between the Los Angeles Clippers and Denver Nuggets. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

It had initially appeared to be another sledgehammer performance from the Clippers, who led by double digits for much of the second and third quarter. However, at the end of the first half, Clippers forward (and enforcer) Marcus Morris Sr. got into a heated argument with Nuggets veteran Paul Millsap and was assessed a technical.

At that point, the Clippers were up 56-41 and cruising. The Nuggets came out of halftime looking like a different team, with Millsap scoring 14 third-quarter points to cut the lead to single digits. Nuggets coach Mike Malone said after the game the incident gave the Nuggets new life.

Once the game hit the fourth quarter, Nuggets stars Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray took over and led 38-25 surge in the final 12 minutes.

Murray ended up leading the Nuggets in scoring with 26 points, but that came on high volume with 7-of-25 shooting. Jokic was his usual self with 22 points, 14 rebounds and 5 assists.

The Nuggets still have to win two games to complete a shocking series comeback, but they have obviously done that before in the first round against the Utah Jazz. The Clippers are an entirely different animal than the Jazz, but the team’s infamous conference finals drought could loom large if they don’t take care of business on Sunday.

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