Madness, heart attack and end to a historic series: Denver, to the semifinals

The Jazz rallied from a 19-point lead, but Conley's 3-pointer over the horn went out of his way. The Nuggets, to the semifinals after a historic series.


There were 17.4 seconds left when Donovan Mitchell received the ball. The Nuggets led by two after an impossible hook from Nikola Jokic and were preparing to defend what could be the last play of the game. And so it seemed when Gary Harris stole the ball from him. However, the Nuggets rushed the counterattack instead of keeping the ball and missed, so the Jazz rushed to what was to be their last chance to save themselves from the ignominious situation of becoming the twelfth team in history to be. lets go from 3-1, the last, by the way, were the Warriors in the 2016 Finals ... and this time it was not going to be different. The ball reached Mike Conley, a man hardened in a thousand battles who has ended up being a better reinforcement for the Jazz than the first games after his signing showed. The point guard, a true idol in Memphis, stood on the line of three and threw, but the ball spat the ball, which made the tie and went out, with the Jazz baseline players clutching their heads.

After the play, Mitchell hid his face in his hands while Jamal Murray went to greet him and hug him. Both have been the absolute protagonists of a historical series in which they have broken numerous records. The last ones, from Mitchell, are those of being the player who scores the most points in a first round in history (beating LeBron) and the one who scores the most triples in a playoff series with 33. The second, by the way, is Murray , which has remained at 32. And yet today none of them has been the main protagonist, the Jazz player remaining at 22 points and his nemesis in Denver, at 17. And having scored 475 points combined in the entire tie , another record. Of course, today the protagonists have been the inner men, an overwhelming logic in a seventh game in which the pulses tremble and putting it up close is easier than from the line of three.

Today, a combined 158 points have been scored, the lowest number in the entire series and the only meeting in which neither team has broken the 100-point barrier. In fact, except for the third meeting, they had both done it without exception. The nerves were palpable and have been reflected in the shooting, with Denver shooting 37.3% from the field and 25.8% on 3-pointers for the Jazz's 38 and 23.5 respectively. And within the manifest irregularity of the two teams, madness has also taken hold of a meeting that the local theorists (since everything is held in the same field) were dominating by an advantage of 19 points in the second period, but that they have seen how they were traced with the same alacrity with which they had gone from 3-1 to 3-3. Although, in this case, with better news, since they ended up taking the shock.

Jokic and Gobert, a high-altitude duel

Given the inability of the outside players in the launch, it was necessary to pull pivots to resolve the match. Gobert already had three fouls in the first quarter (and Mitchell in the second), but he managed to reach the final part of a match alive in which Jokic arrived with five and reserved in defense by a Mike Malone who did not rule out the extension. Not in attack, since he put that aforementioned hook against the defense of a superlative Gobert who was very close to reaching his particular redemption, which in the end has come to nothing. The first positive for coronavirus, the one for which the competition was stopped, signed a majestic game, wasted passion and had a few minutes in the last period in which it seemed to reach everything and everyone, in defense and in attack. As the last receiver for his teammates and with tremendous plays on the other side of the court, partially slowing down Jokic and helping against faster outside players. In the end, 19 points and 18 rebounds for him, insufficient to take the victory and receiving a basket from Jokic, ultimately the winner, of which he was not to blame.

The Serbian, meanwhile, was crowned. Blurred during the series, not by his level, but by the prowess of his partner Murray, he took over the match. His shots took a lot of arc to avoid Gobert, he was almost the only one capable of scoring against him in the area and had a good series of shots (12 of 23), which allowed him to score up to 30 points, which he rounded off with 14 rebounds and 4 assists. He was the best of his team by far, accompanied by a streaky Murray and a Porter Jr., with good minutes but who continues to suffer a lot on defense, where he causes Malone headaches in the pairings that he only compensates with his good do on offense. The rest of the Colorado squad was up to the task defensively, in contrast to the rest of the games, where the points mansalva was the protagonist night after night.

In one way or another, it will be the Nuggets and not the Jazz that will face the Clippers in the semifinals. After a historical series, almost epic, two protagonists whose duel has already remained for the annals and a young generation capable of taking over the NBA, we already have a winner. Denver, which has played its third seventh consecutive playoff game (against Spurs and Portland a year ago), will now face an opponent who, on paper, is clearly and completely superior to them and who plays another League. Therefore, nothing to lose for them ... and everything to gain. The rest, we'll see. At the moment, the Nuggets are going to the semifinals. And the Jazz, to reflect.

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