The Underdog Story of the Year: The Nuggets Score Big

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Courtesy of Sporting News

Nuggets, Jamal Murray (27), Nikola Jokic (15) and their head coach Mike Malone celebrate after game seven victory.

Bailey Duplessis, Sports Editor

For about the last month, the NBA playoffs have been a battle for the Denver Nuggets.

The Nuggets have fought tooth and nail for the position they are in right now. They played a seven-game series against the Utah Jazz and had a comeback victory after being down one to three. Then, Tuesday, Sep. 15, they finished another game seven series against the L.A. Clippers and won, becoming the first team in NBA history to come back from consecutive 1-3 series deficits to advance into the Western Conference Finals (WCF).
The Denver Nuggets are a team that doesn’t give up. In the series with the Jazz, they won the first game in overtime 135-125. That was just the start to one hell of a series. The Jazz went on to win the next three games putting the Nuggets down 1-3. Things were not looking too hot for them; the odds were not in their favor. Just as fans were starting to lose hope, the team made a major comeback and turned on the jets. The Nuggets came back to win the series 80-78 in game seven.
The Nuggets were fresh off the win and felt like nothing stood in their way. The L.A. Clippers were the next opponent the Nuggets had to face. The Clippers were favored to win the championship this year.
“They got no chance. They’re not gonna beat the Clippers. No chance. Utah made no adjustments, that’s the only reason they beat Utah. Kawhi, Paul, Beverley. They’re too good. They got no chance against this Clipper team,” said NBA star Charles Barkley during the Inside the NBA halftime show of the first game of the Nuggets vs Clippers series. The Clippers went on to win the first game 97-120. Things didn’t look good.
The statement by Barkley sparked up the Nuggets to go and win game two of the series. The Clippers rallied back to win the next two games, which put the Nuggets back in the situation they were in before, down 1-3. They didn’t want their playoff journey to end in the second round like it did last year. So once again, they fought even after getting big deficits in a game, then hung on, and won the next two games to tie the series 3-3. By this time they had stunned everyone by coming back again, but fans and critics alike predicted the Nuggets would choke and lose in game seven.
The seconds ticked by during the close game with the lead going back and forth between the teams. The second half was the game-changer for the Nuggets. They went into the reserve and pulled out all they could. Two minutes remained on the clock, and anyone watching knew the outcome of the game. The Nuggets were up 20 points and getting excited. Time expired and the scoreboard read, 104-89 with the Nuggets winning and causing a major upset to the year’s NBA predictions.
The Clippers were outscored 50-33 in the second half, and that was the deciding factor. Kawhi Leonard and Paul George struggled shooting the ball in Game 7, combining to go 10-of-38 from the field, going scoreless in the fourth quarter. Nikola Jokic got a triple-double with 16 points, 22 rebounds, and 13 assists. He got this in the third quarter, making it the first time in NBA history that a player had gotten a triple-double with 15+ rebounds in the third quarter. Jamal Murray exploded and scored 40 points.

Pullquote Photo

“Y’all better start giving this team some damn respect””

— Jamal Murray

Charles Barkley was 100% wrong on his prediction. Jamal Murray released a statement to Barkley, Shaquille O’Neal, and any other doubters saying all, “Y’all better start giving this team some damn respect, because we put in the work… it’s fun just to change that narrative.”
The Denver Nuggets take on the L.A. Lakers starting Friday, Sept. 18 in the Bubble, located in Walt Disney World in Bay Lake, Florida, for the WCF. Once again everyone is doubting the Nuggets, but nobody knows what could happen anymore. All there is left to do is sit back and watch this unfold.