The Denver Nuggets don't do things the easy way, but that's all part of the journey, according to Jamal Murray.
After becoming the first team in NBA history to come back from a 3-1 deficit twice in the same post-season, the Nuggets are on their way to the Western Conference Finals, following their 104-89 win over the LA Clippers in Game 7.
TAKEAWAYS: Murray, Jokic power Nuggets to Game 7 win
Their reward: A date with LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers.
After their heroics in the first round against the Utah Jazz and now showing that same resolve in the second round against the Clippers, Murray says the results don't come as a surprise to anyone within the team, with their self-belief driving their post-season run.
'We know what we got and when we're all clicking when we're all making shots like that and playing defence together, we're a top 4 team, top 3 team in the league and we're trying to prove to be the no.1," he said post-game.
"We gotta go against the Lakers and fight that series, but we've been doing this, I don't know how many times we've got to prove it over, we've been doing this and we have the talent to do it and we're only going to get better.
"MPJ's [Michael Porter Jr.] not even starting yet, Will's [Barton] not even here, but like I said, we've got a squad and we just believe in each other and we know we can go out there and win it."
Murray let his actions do the talking in Game 7, pouring in a game-high 40 points on 15-of-26 shooting from the field and 6-of-13 from the 3-point line. He kept the Nuggets in the contest early, scoring 20 of his 25 first-half points in the second quarter, before the Nuggets clamped down on defence, holding the Clippers to just 33 second-half points to seal a memorable Game 7 victory.
The Kitchener, Ontario native joined some elite company in the process, becoming the second-youngest player ever to drop 40 in a Game 7.
Jamal Murray is the second youngest player in NBA history with 40+ points in a Game 7 - trailing only LeBron James. pic.twitter.com/u5IYSEzxei- StatMuse (@statmuse) September 16, 2020
The 23-year-old was a blur on Game 7, torching the Clippers in the pick-and-roll as he continually found space to let if fly, but it was the play of All-Star big man Nikola Jokic that caused the Clippers so many headaches on the night as he recorded his fifth career playoff triple-double, finishing with 16 points, 22 rebounds, and 13 assists.
MORE: NBA players react on Twitter to epic Game 7
"The way we play off each other and find everybody, I think it's amazing," Murray said of his combination with Jokic. "He's just so dominant in the post and one-on-one he's going to score, if you double he's going to pass."
"He's incredible. He plays with such a joy, a free-flowing game, without any pressure, even if he does something dumb or has 20 turnovers, he still plays free and plays within himself, so it was fun to see him go out there and I wouldn't say take the game lightly, but look at it in a light where he knows what he's put into this game and where' it's gotten him and he just goes out there and tries to show it with how he plays and how he reacts with us.
"He's been amazing, he's been incredible and you just saw another performance from him tonight."
Nikola Jokic tallies the first 20+ REB triple-double in a playoff game since Kevin Garnett in 2004! #SAPStatLineOfTheNight pic.twitter.com/MBYSgpvlei- NBA.com/Stats (@nbastats) September 16, 2020
Denver fell into a 12-point hole in the first half, but in trademark fashion, used a huge second half to flip the game on it's head.
Just how they drew it up.
"We just continued to play through it like we always have this series and in this playoffs and it paid off, so it's fun to silence everybody that's talking about us, talking negative about us and we're just going to keep moving on from here."
The Nuggets will face the Lakers in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals on Friday, September 18 at 9:00 p.m. E.T on TSN.
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