There wouldn’t have been any sympathy from the Nuggets had the Clippers entered their second round with a shorthand.
After an emotionally draining 3-1 comeback, Denver had one day to transition from the pick-and-pop style of the Jazz to the Clippers battering ram.
Not only did they not catch a break, but the Clippers caught one instead.
Los Angeles point guard Patrick Beverley was acquitted on Thursday after playing just one game in the Clippers’ opening round against Dallas due to a nagging calf strain. That means the return of one of the most aggressive – and effective – defensive plagues in the NBA. Including the playoff games, the Clippers were 39-13 in the year with Beverley in the lineup, as opposed to 14-12 without him.
“The last time we played them in LA, starting with Patrick Beverley, Paul George, Kawhi Leonard, you have three elite defenders on the edge, and they all took turns guarding Jamal Murray,” Nuggets coach Michael Malone said Thursday. . “Obviously we need to screen well, get our guys open and limit the amount of ball pressure those guys exert. We knew he would be available, he’s a competitor.”
Murray averaged 31.6 points during his first round of the supernova against Utah. In three games against the Clippers this year, two of which Beverley played, he averaged just 13.3 points on just 37.5 percent shooting.
In other words, don’t expect Murray to light the Clippers like he set the Jazz on fire.
“It goes from Donovan Mitchell, Jordan Clarkson and Mike Conley to now, super big,” said Malone. “Now you have Kawhi Leonard and Paul George and then Lou Williams from the couch. So yes, they are going to test us.
“This will be a great challenge. This Clipper team is a team chosen by many people to win the NBA Championship. “
The Nuggets, on the other hand, were just inches away from sending it home.
“I know the Clippers have been waiting for this,” added Malone.