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Nuggets stun Clippers, advance to West finals

For the past 26 years the biggest win in Nuggets’ franchise history was when Denver knocked off the Seattle SuperSonics in the first round of the 1994 NBA playoffs and Dikembe Mutombo was seen on the floor clutching the ball over his head afterward. It’s safe to say there’s a new No. 1 in town after Denver shocked the Clippers and the basketball world with a 104-89 win Tuesday night.

Denver gets a couple days off before the start of the Western Conference Finals on Friday (7 p.m., TNT) vs. the top-seeded L.A. Lakers.

As for Tuesday, the Nuggets set numerous records with the win, here’s a look at some of them:

  • Denver became the first team ever to come back from 3-1 deficits twice in the same postseason.
  • Became the first team ever to rally from double-digit deficits in three straight games when facing elimination.
  • Tied the record for most wins when facing elimination in one postseason with six. The team they tied? The 1994 Nuggets.
  • Jamal Murray became the first player in history to score 40 points or more in three elimination games in the same postseason after scoring 40 on Tuesday.
  • Nikola Jokić became the first player to record a triple-double in the first three quarters of a Game 7. Jokić finished with 16 points, 22 rebounds and 13 assists.
    He’s also now one of just three players to have multiple Game 7 triple doubles, joining Russell Westbrook and Rajon Rondo.

That’s what they said

After the win Murray pushed back against all the people who’ve been doubting the Nuggets, saying:

“You got (Shaquille O’Neal), you got Charles (Barkley), I think Zach LoweStephen A. (Smith), all y’all better start giving this team some damn respect. Because we put in the work. We shouldn’t have been down 3-1, but to come back down 3-1 against the Clippers is a big achievement, so it’s fun just to change that narrative.”

Jokić echoed much the same tone, saying:

“Nobody wants us here. Nobody thinks we can do something. We proved ourselves and proved everybody we can do something. … We are just not accepting that somebody’s better than us.”

As for the game itself Murray credited the Nuggets ability to outwork L.A. as the reason for the historic win.

“We’ve got a lot of energy, and we brought it and they didn’t match that. They got who they got. They’ve got a talented squad. They’ve got Doc (Rivers), too. They’ve got assistant coaches who are about to be head coaches. We know what they have, we just outworked them a little bit with our young legs.”

As for Nuggets head coach Michael Malone, he couldn’t be more proud of his players.

“I think this is our sixth straight elimination game. Seventy-one days in the bubble and just to stay together, that commitment, that toughness is — you don’t see that around very often. That speaks to the guys in the locker room and how much they love each other. Just an amazing feeling. …
“So proud. All the guys, never got down, believed in each other. Believed in themselves. In light of all the noise outside this series that we had no chance. We have people guaranteeing it. We found a way to beat a really good team three times. I’ve run out of things to say.”

With one L.A. team down, there’s another one waiting for Denver in the form of the L.A. Lakers led by LeBron James. When asked if he’s worried about the upcoming series, Jokić responded:

“They gotta worry about us, too.”

Highlights: Nuggets 104, Clippers 89

Tip-ins

Nuggets vs. Lakers
Western Conference Finals schedule

GameDateTimeChannel
Game 1Fri. Sept. 187 p.m.TNT
Game 2Sun. Sept. 205:30 p.m.TNT
Game 3Tue. Sept. 227 p.m.TNT
Game 4Thur. Sept. 247 p.m.TNT
*Game 5Sat. Sept. 267 p.m.TNT
*Game 6Mon. Sept. 28TBDTNT
*Game 7Wed. Sept. 30TBDTNT
*If necessary. All games played in NBA bubble in Orlando. All time MT

Nuggets vs. Clippers
Western Conference Semifinals results

GameResult
Game 1Clippers 120, Nuggets 97Box score
Game 2Nuggets 110, Clippers 101Box score
Game 3Clippers 113, Nuggets 107Box score
Game 4Clippers 96, Nuggets 85Box score
Game 5Nuggets 111, Clippers 105Box score
Game 6Nuggets 111, Clippers 98Box score
Game 7Nuggets 104, Clippers 89Box score
Nuggets win best-of-seven series 4-3

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