mcloudy.png
Friday September 18th, 2020 4:57PM

Leonard, Clippers beat Nuggets 96-85, take 3-1 series lead

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) — Kawhi Leonard has the Los Angeles Clippers a win away from the franchise's first-ever trip to the Western Conference finals.

They're not celebrating anything just yet.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do still,” Leonard said. “We’re still fighting.”

Leonard finished an assist shy of his first playoff triple-double and the Los Angeles Clippers beat the Denver Nuggets 96-85 in Game 4 on Wednesday night to take a 3-1 lead in the series.

Leonard filled up the stat sheet with 30 points, 11 rebounds, four steals and two blocked shots. He has scored 30 or more points six times during this postseason.

Reserve Montrezl Harrell added 15 points to help the Clippers, who can close out the Nuggets on Friday night.

The mood in the locker room on the precipice of such a momentous moment was subdued.

“Zero reaction,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. “We haven’t done anything yet.”

After building an 18-point lead in the second quarter, Los Angeles saw Denver storm back and tie it at 48 early in the third. The Clippers responded with a 21-5 run to gain some separation and then weathered a late run from Denver.

“Our continuity is growing," said Paul George, who scored 10 points in nearly 27 minutes as he dealt with foul trouble. "This team is getting more and more comfortable together.

Nikola Jokic had 26 points and 11 boards for a Nuggets team that finds itself in an all-too-familiar situation. They were down in their first-round series against Utah before becoming the 12th team in NBA history to overcome a 3-1 deficit.

“This is a different opponent, obviously. A very talented, deep team,” Nuggets coach Michael Malone said. "But I think we do have a confidence in being a resilient group and being a team that when everyone else has written us off, we have found a way.”

Los Angeles relied on stellar defense, holding Denver to 39.7% shooting and forcing three shot-clock violations. The Nuggets never led in the game.

One of the leaders of the defensive charge was George, who helped hold Jamal Murray to 6-of-15 shooting and 18 points.

“We knew that when we were getting him,” Rivers said of George's defensive tenacity. “It gets lost at times, with P.G., because he's such a great shooter. The better shooter you are the more people forget how good you are defensively.”

There was a very minor dust-up midway through the fourth quarter when Jokic fell to the floor after feeling he was fouled. As he got up, he grabbed at Patrick Beverley, who was taking the ball up the floor. Beverley took a step toward Jokic before heading toward the bench.

It was Beverley who said after Game 3 that Jokic makes it hard on officials with “a lot of flailing.”

TIP-INS

Clippers: Reserve G Lou Williams finished with 12. ... The Clippers had a 38-22 margin in points in the paint.

Nuggets: Murray finished with seven assists and Jokic six. ... Denver was 9 of 27 from 3-point range.

PORTER'S NIGHT

Nuggets forward Michael Porter Jr. scored 13 of his 15 points in the second quarter. He didn't have a basket after halftime.

Asked what the Clippers did differently in the second half, Porter said: "I just didn’t touch the ball. They didn’t do anything differently.”

HIGH PRAISE

Rivers tried to find an apt comparison for Jokic, a center who likes to consider himself a point guard.

“I don’t know if there is a comparison. He has a little bit of everybody,” Rivers said. "He has all the footwork and the moves of an (Hakeem) Olajuwon, the lanky and ... goofy intelligence of Kevin McHale. Shoot, man, he’s just good. He’s the best passing big that I’ve seen I think, ever.

“He's very good and he’s very frustrating to watch on film.”

REST OR TRAVEL?

Rivers sees no travel in these series inside the bubble as a positive. But he pointed out there’s also less rest with contests every other day, which may negate the positives.

“My guess, probably it evens all out,” Rivers said. “If you gave a player a travel day and two days, he would probably take that over (playing) every other day.”

___

More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Basketball, AP Sports - NBA
© Copyright 2020 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Asian stocks gain after Wall Street rebounds from tech slump
Asian stock markets have gained after Wall Street rebounded from a slump for tech stocks
12:21AM ( 15 minutes ago )
Leonard, Clippers beat Nuggets 96-85, take 3-1 series lead
Kawhi Leonard finished an assist shy of his first playoff triple-double and the Los Angeles Clippers beat the Denver Nuggets 96-85 in Game 4 to move a step closer to their first Western Conference finals
12:20AM ( 15 minutes ago )
Amnesty Report: Businesses supporting Myanmar abuses
The overwhelming control of Myanmar's economy by the military through some of its biggest companies means its foreign and domestic business partners are likely supporting military units and leaders suspected of human rights abuses
12:17AM ( 19 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Chiefs nix headdresses, face paint to start NFL season
Kansas City Chiefs fans who file into Arrowhead stadium for a masked and socially distanced start to the NFL season won’t be wearing headdresses or face paint amid a nationwide push for racial justice following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis
11:55PM ( 41 minutes ago )
Smoke from nearby wildfires creates eerie baseball scene
The Oakland Coliseum lights shone brightly for miles through a sunless, smoky sky in the middle of the afternoon _ hours before they usually would be on for a night baseball game
11:46PM ( 50 minutes ago )
Kucherov scores late; Lightning take 2-0 lead over Islanders
Nikita Kucherov scored with 8.8 seconds left to give the Tampa Bay Lightning a 2-1 victory over the New York Islanders on Wednesday night and a 2-0 series lead in the Eastern Conference final
11:44PM ( 52 minutes ago )
AP Sports
Steve Nash eager to get started on new career as Nets coach
Steve Nash was a leader, a guy who loved to get the best out of his teammates on the court and build relationships off it
7:41PM ( 4 hours ago )
Famed basketball coach Roy Williams pays tribute to Budig
Famed North Carolina basketball coach Roy Williams has paid tribute to Gene Budig, the former American League president who also headed three major universities
7:23PM ( 5 hours ago )
At home, on the road or at Disney, James is tough to beat
LeBron James now has been part of more postseason game victories than any player in NBA history, a record he’s earned over his 14 appearances in the playoffs
5:08PM ( 7 hours ago )
AP Online Basketball
George, Leonard lead Clippers to 113-107 win over Nuggets
Paul George scored 32 points, Kawhi Leonard added 23 along with a big late block and the dynamic duo helped the Los Angeles Clippers rally in the fourth quarter for a 113-107 win over the Denver Nuggets in Game 3 of their Western Conference semifinal series
12:54AM ( 1 day ago )
Celtics roll in Game 5, take 3-2 series lead on Raptors
Jaylen Brown scored 27 points and the Boston Celtics set a serious defensive tone early on the way to beating the Toronto Raptors 111-89 in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference semifinals on Monday night
10:03PM ( 2 days ago )
James, Davis help Lakers hold on to beat Rockets, tie series
LeBron James had 28 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists, Anthony Davis added 34 points and 10 rebounds, and the Los Angeles Lakers evened the Western Conference semifinals, beating the Houston Rockets 117-109
12:16AM ( 3 days ago )
AP Sports - NBA
Asian stocks gain after Wall Street rebounds from tech slump
Asian stock markets have gained after Wall Street rebounded from a slump for tech stocks
12:21AM ( 15 minutes ago )
Amnesty Report: Businesses supporting Myanmar abuses
The overwhelming control of Myanmar's economy by the military through some of its biggest companies means its foreign and domestic business partners are likely supporting military units and leaders suspected of human rights abuses
12:17AM ( 19 minutes ago )
Book: Kim Jong Un told Trump about killing his uncle
President Donald Trump’s comments about the threat from the novel coronavirus have attracted widespread attention after excerpts of journalist Bob Woodward’s book “Rage” were released
12:15AM ( 21 minutes ago )
LEADING OFF: Wildfires darken California skies; Cole vs O's
Wildfires in Northern California have darkened the daytime skies over the Bay Area, leaving an orange-glowing haze above Oracle Park and the Coliseum
12:13AM ( 22 minutes ago )
'Deadly stuff': Trump's own words bring focus back to virus
President Donald Trump is acknowledging he played down the projected impact of the deadly coronavrius early this year and says he meant to avoid creating a panic
12:13AM ( 22 minutes ago )