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Denver Nuggets vs LA Clippers Series Analysis: Kawhi Leonard and crew falter as we head to Game 7 l NBA Playoffs 2020

Los Angeles Clippers vs Denver Nuggets Game 6 ended with a score of 111-98 in favor of the latter
Los Angeles Clippers vs Denver Nuggets Game 6 ended with a score of 111-98 in favor of the latter
ANALYST
Modified 14 Sep 2020, 10:37 IST
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Game 6 of the Denver Nuggets vs LA Clippers has finally concluded, and it had everything.

Ending with a score of 111-98 in favor of the Denver Nuggets, this game was a roller coaster ride.

Both sides were desperate for a win, with the star duos of both teams playing more minutes than they ever have during this year's NBA Playoffs.

The LA Clippers started perfectly, ending the first quarter with a 9-point lead and, more significantly, by 16 points at the end of the first half.

The third quarter was where the game went from one close to a blowout to one that was out of this world. The Denver Nuggets trailed by 18 points on two different occasions in this quarter alone. Yet, the team's unwavering tenacity made sure they kept their opposition within reach before eventually pulling away at the end of the fourth quarter.

With that aside, what does this mean for both teams?

The Denver Nuggets prove they belong

The Denver Nuggets are proving themselves against the best in the NBA
The Denver Nuggets are proving themselves against the best in the NBA

Before the start of their series against the Clippers, many felt the Nuggets were not going to go too far in the playoffs. Fans predicted this team needed more firepower on both ends to compete against the best.

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And yet, here they are. Going to a Game 7 against the favorites to win it all this year.

Nikola Jokic was outstanding in this game. The Denver Nuggets' star recorded an impressive 34 points, 14 rebounds and 7 assists.

Jokic kept making tough shots throughout the game, even scoring an off-balance, one-legged three-pointer that may just have taken the wind out of the LA Clippers. In a game where he was needed direly, Nikola Jokic stepped up and led the team to victory.

Nikola Jokic led the Denver Nuggets to victory in game six
Nikola Jokic led the Denver Nuggets to victory in game six

Not to be left behind, Jamal Murray quietly had an impressive game as well. On much-improved efficiency, Murray recorded 21 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists.

As the Denver Nuggets' second star, Murray faced criticism for his inefficiency against the LA Clippers but things couldn't have been more different in Game 6. The 23-year-old shot 69.23% from the field, hitting tough shot after tough shot at times when the team needed him most.

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Another positive has been the defense of the Denver Nuggets. It should come as no surprise after what we saw against Utah but this team adapts to their opposition almost scarily well.

With every passing game, the defense has gotten better and better, and it shows. The team won Game 5 and 6 because of their stellar defense. And in the end, it is what has set them up for another impressive comeback.

Michael Porter Jr continues to impress against the LA Clippers
Michael Porter Jr continues to impress against the LA Clippers

The only negative on this game was the offense. While their star duo, as well as Michael Porter Jr, did perform impressively, the rest of the team underperformed. They weren't terrible by any means but did seem to miss some important shots that could have put their opposition to bed earlier than they did.

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Whether it's down to fatigue or a lack of ball movement, the Denver Nuggets simply can't have the same problem again, if they wish to progress to the Western Conference Finals

The LA Clippers are well and truly in trouble

The LA Clippers may be in a world of trouble, against the Denver Nuggets
The LA Clippers may be in a world of trouble, against the Denver Nuggets

Much like the Jazz, the Clippers had a commanding 3-1 lead in the series. And like the Jazz, they are going to Game 7 against the Denver Nuggets.

These are worrying signs for the LA Clippers, with the possibility of them being the next team to lose a 3-1 lead very much on the cards.

Kawhi Leonard has been adapted to by the Denver Nuggets. While it is close to impossible to overcome the LA Clippers star, the Nuggets have been able to contain him to a certain extent.

Leonard wasn't especially inefficient, shooting 44% from the field. However, his opposition made sure he missed a lot of the shots he usually makes for the LA Clippers. A bad sign.

Kawhi Leonard had a tough game against the Denver Nuggets
Kawhi Leonard had a tough game against the Denver Nuggets
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Worse yet, the LA Clippers' second star, Paul George, is back to being more than just simply inefficient. While he did make a few important shots, George shot just 9-21 from the field.

It must be mentioned that Lou Williams scored well during many important periods, practically keeping the team in the game at times. But in the end, as the scoreline suggests, it wasn't enough.

The LA Clippers need the whole team to come alive in order to stand any chance of beating the Denver Nuggets.

What does the future hold?

The Denver Nuggets have adapted scarily well to the LA Clippers
The Denver Nuggets have adapted scarily well to the LA Clippers

The Denver Nuggets have finally adapted completely to the LA Clippers.

While it is obvious the Clippers still have a chance, the Nuggets are putting up performances on both ends, that are more than just keeping the former at bay.

With all things considered, we predict the Denver Nuggets to win a very close Game 7 and progress to the Western Conference Finals.

Published 14 Sep 2020, 10:37 IST
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