Denver head coach Mike Malone is well-aware that the NBA is expecting an all-Los Angeles matchup Conference Finals, but he and his team are not going to go down without a fight. “We’re not going home yet, we ain’t gone fishing yet,” Malone said.
Nikola Jokic totaled 34 points, 14 rebounds and seven assists, and the Denver Nuggets overcame a 19-point second-half deficit in a 111-98 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers to force a Game 7 in their Western Conference semifinal series near Orlando.
It was the Nuggets’ fifth consecutive win in an elimination game in these playoffs. They will need a sixth to advance to the conference finals.
But Denver’s resilience was present in its second consecutive furious rally after the break.
The Nuggets outscored the second-seeded Clippers 64-35 in the second half, and held Los Angeles to 26.3 percent shooting. That included a stretch of 10 consecutive Los Angeles misses in the third quarter, which helped Denver trim a 19-point deficit before taking control in the final period.
George finished with 33 points, six rebounds and five steals, while Kawhi Leonard totaled 25 points, eight rebounds, five assists and two steals.