NBA Playoffs – playoffs – working day 14
The Nuggets and the Suns will meet again in the West semifinals. Devin Booker and Chris Paul swept Denver in four games two years ago. Things promise to be different this time in the series that begins this Saturday in Colorado. Nikola Jokic, twice the best player in the league, will now have the help of Jamal Murray, who this Tuesday scored 35 points to eliminate the Minnesota Timberwolves (112-109). Phoenix has advanced to the next phase by striking at home some Los Angeles Clippers who did not have Paul George or Kawhi Leonard in the last games of the series.
Jokic has shown this Tuesday why he is still in the conversation of the MVP candidates despite having won it two years in a row. The Serbian has achieved a triple double tonight with 28 points, 17 rebounds and 12 assists. He is second in the tie against the Timberwolves, a team that tried to come back from 3-0. Minnesota won in overtime Sunday in Game 4. Tonight, Anthony Edwards was millimeters away from hitting a deep three-pointer that would have sent the game into another overtime.
“We started like the crowd did tonight, coming in late,” said Michael Malone, the coach of Denver, a team that finished the regular season in first place in the conference. A storm caused thousands of fans to arrive late at the Ball stadium. It seemed Jokic, who scored 43 points over the weekend, wasn’t about to shine without enough witnesses (he made just eight 29-pointers in the first half). The start of it was idling. This sank the locals in the first quarter, where they were 13 points behind the Timberwolves. Edwards, a star in just his third year in the NBA, scored 29. Karl-Anthony Towns followed with 26 points but was fouled out in the fourth quarter.
The one who warmed up the Nuggets was Jamal Murray. The forward scored 35 points to become the most constant offensive guide for Colorado since the second quarter. A fall while he was trying to get past the double tagging caused thousands of fans to hold their breath. On the ground, the player, who was out the entire 2021 season due to torn ligaments, touched his ankle. But he didn’t get older. That he is healthy is one of the main weapons for the Nuggets to avoid being swept again by the Suns.
goodbye to the Clippers
NBA Playoffs – playoffs – working day 14
Two years ago, the Nuggets collided before a wall formed by the duo of Chris Paul and Kevin Booker. Both have shown this 2023, during the series against the Clippers, that they are strong contenders in the conference despite having finished the season in fourth position. Added to this formula is Kevin Durant, who increasingly fits into the Suns’ attack. The star seems willing to serve Booker, who tonight scored 47 points (shooting 19 of 27 inside the area) to strike down the Angels (136-130).
“It was a spiritual experience,” Durant said of his teammate’s performance, who scored 25 points in an intense third quarter (the Suns had 50 in the period). “I don’t yell too much in games as I get older, but when [Booker] hit that 3-pointer, I felt his energy and I think everyone in the crowd felt it. We feed off of her aggressiveness,” added the forward, who came to Arizona in a bombshell trade in early February. Durant closed the night with 31 points.
Despite not having Leonard, who missed Games 3 and 4 with a sprained knee, the Clippers put up a fight. After the offensive deployment led by Booker, the Angelenos began the last quarter almost 20 points behind on the scoreboard, 111-94. They managed to come back thanks to four triples in a row. They came close to equalizing several times during the last three minutes. Norman Powell had 27 points and Mason Plumlee chipped in with 20 off the bench. A couple of last-minute glitches wiped out any chance of the series returning to California. Powell fumbled as he dribbled and Russell Westbrook gave away another possession by throwing a pass to Terance Mann, who wasn’t expecting the ball. Now they will have to wait for their stars to heal and appear again.
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