This game was intense and an incredible watch, to say the least. Both teams had tremendous games offensively, with both star duos leading their teams to what was a very close finish.
While all of the above is true, there were worrying signs for both teams at the end of this game.
The Denver Nuggets deserved their victory. After playing catch-up for most of the game, the team's offense stepped up massively towards the end, with Denver scoring 38 points in the fourth quarter alone.
However, the franchise should be thanking their lucky stars. There were too many instances where the LA Clippers had a massive lead that the Denver Nuggets had to overcome. Any other day, and perhaps the Clippers may have run away with it and ended the series.
On the other side, the LA Clippers needed to do more. They had a 15-point lead at several different moments during the game, yet failed to keep it for too long. Too many periods of stagnation on both ends of the floor cost the Clippers the chance to sweep their opponents.
With all that being said, let's analyze further from both sides.
The Denver Nuggets need to do more
Yes, they took game five and yes, the fourth quarter was explosive but the truth is the Denver Nuggets made too many mistakes throughout the game.
Jamal Murray had 26 points, 8 rebounds, and 7 assists. While these numbers look impressive at first, they do not mention the Denver Nuggets' star's utter inefficiency in this game.
Murray shot just 36% from the field throughout the game. The 23-year-old should feel lucky the opposition didn't exploit his inefficiency as much as they should have.
But where his co-star fell, Nikola Jokic rose to the occasion, recording 22 points and 14 rebounds. Jokic's shot selection was much improved from game four, and it showed in his efficiency. The Nuggets star shot an astounding 52.9% from the field.
The Denver Nuggets' role players were another positive in this game. Jerami Grant and Paul Milsap were impressive on both ends of the floor, hitting important shots whenever the team needed it.
Michael Porter Jr. also deserves to be mentioned here. After his interview post-game four, many seemed to dismiss Porter for the controversial nature of his statements to the media. However, when it was time to perform, he did not disappoint.
While he wasn't doing anything impressive for most of the game, Porter came alive in the fourth. As the LA Clippers were starting to cut the Denver Nuggets' lead down, the 22-year-old hit a clutch three-pointer with Lou Williams in his face. On the other end, he got an important block and rebound at a time when the team needed it most.
Brilliant plays like this give your team all the momentum in any close contest.
While things are looking better now, the Denver Nuggets are still not safe yet. The franchise will need Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic firing on all cylinders if they wish to progress to the Western Conference Finals.
The LA Clippers need to be more ruthless
It seems the series lead that the Clippers had going into game five might have gotten to the teams' heads.
What seemed to be lacking, however, was the killer instinct. The LA Clippers, a team so lethal and ruthless against their opponents, seemingly found game five to be a chore of sorts.
The LA Clippers cannot take anything for granted in its series. There's a reason why the Denver Nuggets are their opponents after all. And things only get scarier and more worrying for the team when they consider that Jamal Murray hasn't stepped into his best game yet.
If the LA Clippers want to make sure their championship run stays intact, they have to give their opponents the respect they deserve.
If the franchise truly wants to win an NBA Championship, they must take the game away from their opponents the first chance they get by being as ruthless as they've shown they can be.
What does the future hold for this series?
As tantalizing as the idea of another Denver Nuggets comeback is, we believe the LA Clippers will ultimately win the series.
However, with the mentality and adaptability that the Denver Nuggets have shown in these Playoffs, there is almost a guarantee of each game being tougher than the last for the LA Clippers.
With all things considered, we predict that the LA Clippers will defeat the Denver Nuggets in seven games.Published 12 Sep 2020, 18:37 IST