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Clippers score against Nuggets, take: Kauhi Leonard has one victory in Los Angeles from the first finals of the conference



The Los Angeles Clippers took full control of their second-round series with the Denver Nuggets, winning a great start and moving on to a 96-85 victory in Game 5 to take a 3-1 lead. The Clippers are now just one win away from their first final trip in franchise history.

It took the Clippers just about eight minutes to create a double-digit lead, and they maintained that advantage for most of the game. Kawhi Leonard dominated, finishing with 30 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists for an almost triple-double, while Montrezl Harrell came off the bench to chip for 15.

Nikola Jokic did his thing, almost recording his own triple-double with 26 points, 1

1 rebounds and six assists, but received no help. Jamal Murray, in particular, had a difficult night, going for 18 points on a 6-from-15 off the field. As a team, the Nuggets shot 39.7 percent and turned the ball 14 times.

Here are some key techniques from the game:

Kawhi dominates

This was not an insulting masterpiece by the Clippers. They fired 41.8 percent from the field, 28.6 percent from the ground with 3 points and had to miss 30 free throw attempts to keep their violation afloat. On nights like these, you need your best player more than ever and Kawhi Leonard delivers.

He put the Clippers on his back, releasing a smooth 30 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists to continue along with four steals and two blocks. It was just another solid performance by the ruling MVP in the final, which always seems to be in full control. Nothing falsifies him, neither the moment nor the opposing team.

It was his sixth game with 30 points in 10 appearances this season, and Lennard now raises 29.2 points, 9.8 rebounds, 5.7 assists and 2.3 steals per game while shooting 51.5%. The Nuggets’ loss to Game 2 was his only bad game so far, and he once again proved to be the best player in the league when the playoffs came.

When Leonard plays this way, it will be difficult to beat the Clippers four times in a row.

Typewriters make Murray’s life difficult

The clippers had a mediocre offensive game, but still won with double-digit numbers because of their efforts at the defensive end. They limited the Nuggets to 39.7% shooting and forced 14 turns. In particular, they made life extremely difficult for the young Nuggets star Jamal Murray.

Murray was great against jazz in the first round, collecting several historical performances. In this series, however, he managed only 17.8 points per game and 38.2% shooting. This trend continued in Game 4, as he finished with 18 points on 6 of 15 from the field.

While the Clippers aren’t always the most consistent team on the defensive line, they have some elite defenders on the perimeter at Patrick Beverly and Leonard, and they combine to make sure Murray has never had a break. Just take these sequences in the third trimester, for example.

Beverly chases Murray around the screens, harassing him along the way and forcing a tough arrangement that Murray misses.

A few minutes later, he has Leonard in his face and is so excited that he turns him around.

Murray and Jokic are responsible for half of Denver’s points in the post-season period, and when one of them masters it that way, they just don’t stand a chance.

Trimmers on the edge of history

The victory in Game 4 gave the Clippers a 3-1 lead in this series, which puts them not only in complete control, but also on the edge of history. Another victory and they will be in the finals of the Western Conference for the first time in the history of the franchise.

Dating back in their 1970 debut as Buffalo Braves, the Clippers never made it to the second round of the playoffs. In fact, they only managed to win six playoff series all this time, and that includes their triumph in the first round over the Mavericks. Their 50th anniversary drought conference finale is the longest in the NBA.

Assuming the Clippers do their job at some point in the next few games, the Atlanta Hawks, 44, will take on the unflattering title, and the Washington Wizards, 41, are not far behind.




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