These Denver Nuggets just do not give up.
Down by 13 with 1:25 left in the third quarter, having never led in the game, the Nuggets outscored the Clippers 44-25 the rest of the way to force a Game 6 and keep their season alive.
Kawhi Leonard scored a game-high 36 points but it was in vain as multiple Denver players stepped up when it mattered. Los Angeles led this game by as many as 16 points, the fourth-largest lead given up with a chance to advance to the Conference Finals since 199, per ESPN Stats & Info.
That said, here are the biggest takeaways from this exciting Game 5:
Multiple Nuggets star in comeback
The Clippers held their biggest lead of 16 in the second quarter and went into the half up by 12. They led all of the third quarter as well but veteran Paul Millsap kept the Nuggets in it with a big third quarter.
Playing all of the third quarter, he scored 14 (4-5 FGs; 5-6 FTs) of the team's 29 points in the period. He finished the game with 17 points.
In the fourth, where they outscored Los Angeles 38-25, the Nuggets' young studs came up big. Nikola Jokic, Jamal Murray, and Michael Porter Jr. combined 27 points in the final frame with the 6'10" rookie coming up huge in the final minute.
He had a big three, followed by a block and then a couple of clutch free-throws.
MPJ came up big time with the three AND the block 💪 pic.twitter.com/nfszUL9OYL- SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) September 12, 2020
In the final frame, the Nuggets offense came alive. They shot 11-of-18 (61.1%) from the field and knocked down seven (77.8%) of their 12 3-pointers for the game.
Jokic finished the game as the team's biggest contributor with 22 points, 14 rebounds, five assists, and two blocks on 9-of-17 shooting from the field. He and Porter Jr. were a team-high +13 in the game. Jamal Murray, in 40 minutes, finished with 26 points, eight rebounds, and seven assists.
Jerami Grant (10) and Monte Morris (12) were the other double-digit scorers in the game for the Nuggets.
Kawhi's big game falls short
Yet again in this postseason for the Clippers, the reigning Finals MVP was the star.
In 40 minutes of play, he stuffed the stat sheet with 36 points, nine rebounds, four assists, and three steals. This was his seventh of 11 games this postseason where he has scored at least 30.
Just like previous games, there was no shortage of highlights from Kawhi, including the incredible dunk.
KAWHI WITH AUTHORITY@NBAonTNT | @kawhileonard pic.twitter.com/Euvc9xsgxw- LA Clippers (@LAClippers) September 11, 2020
In the fourth quarter during the Nuggets run, he scored 13 points and combined with Paul George for 21 of the team's 25 points in the final frame. George was the next biggest contributor for Los Angeles with 26 points, six rebounds, and six assists.
Marcus Morris Sr. (12) and Patrick Beverley (10) were the other double-digit scorers for the Clippers while the bench duo of Montrezl Harrell and Lou Williams only combined for 10 points (5-17 FGs).
History still awaits the Clippers
Going back to the 2019 playoffs, the Nuggets are now 4-2 when facing elimination. Can they pull off another win and force a Game 7 for a second consecutive series? It would be their fourth consecutive Game 7 when you include the 2019 postseason.
On the other hand, the Clippers get another chance to advance to their first Conference Finals in franchise history. This Game 5 is the sixth consecutive loss for the Clippers when they have had a chance to book their spot in the Conference Finals.
The Clippers have lost 6 straight games in which they have an opportunity to go to the Conference Finals.- ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) September 12, 2020
The only team in the NFL/MLB/NHL to lose more consecutive games with a chance to go to the round before the championship series is the A's, who lost 9 straight from 2000-03. pic.twitter.com/KVLSgPtu9V
Even though they might be favoured, anything can happen in a Game 7.
Both teams will suit up for Game 6 early on Sunday, Sept. 13th at 1:00 p.m. ET.
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