This afternoon the Denver Nuggets shocked the world and pushed the Los Angeles Clippers to a game 7 after being down 3-1 in the Western Conference Semifinal Round of the NBA playoffs.
As someone who projected the Clippers to win the championship this year, I was extremely disappointed to see the Nuggets comeback from another 16 point deficit to tie the series.
In two straight games, the Clippers have seemed to lose their intensity and stop playing competitive basketball in the 2nd half.
In my opinion, the Clippers are the better team, but they definitely have not played like it in the second half of the last two games.
Clippers coach Doc Rivers need to take some responsibility for letting the Nuggets go on big runs and not calling timeouts to break their momentum, and for holding Kawhi out for long stretches in the 2nd half as opposed to giving him periodic rest sessions throughout the game.
Doc has been out coached in the last 2 games and he doesn’t seem to have an explanation why his team has blown two 16 point leads.
Watch Doc’s game 6 post game presser clip below:
Kawhi Leonard and Paul George have played well in the last 2 games, but the others have not shown up.
The Clippers pre-bubble was known to have the best bench production in the NBA, but that bench has not shown up in this series.
The Clippers big men, Ivica Zubac and Montreal Harrell have no answer for the Nuggets center Nikola Jokic.
Jokic has been balling, but Zubac and Harrell seem like they are intimidated by him instead of taking on the challenge.
Lemon pepper Lou Williams had one good game early in the series, but recently he seems like he left his swag at Magic City.
There are a few things that I think Doc needs to focus on in game 7 to win.
- Double Murray & Jokic, keep the ball out of their hands and force the other players to beat you.
- Give Kawhi 3 to 4 minute rest sessions in every quarter.
- Do not put Reggie Jackson in the game during crunch time.
- Stop taking so many 3s and drive the ball to the hole more.
- Move the ball on offense, and get the best shot available.
- Stop depending on Kawhi Leonard so much, everyone on offense needs to have the confidence to take and make shots.
- Play with a sense of urgency for the full game, not just the first half.
- Stop falling for the switches on Jokic, double him consistently.
- Win the rebound battle on offense and defense.
- Stay loose and play with confidence.
The Denver Nuggets have less expectations and less pressure on them because no one expected them to be in the position they are in, but the Clippers must remain calm and prove they are the better team to win this series.
I liked Paul George’s take on the situation at his post game presser.
Watch clip below:
Like Paul George eluded to, at this point it’s about showing and proving.
It’s going to take focus, effort, and energy to beat the resilient Denver Nuggets, but I know the Clippers can do it if they play up to their potential.
Who do you think will win game 7?