Nuggets make nearly all their shots early, beat Clippers in Game 2

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ESPN’s “The Jump” runs a segment called “Make or Miss” that begins with NBA players saying, “It’s a make-or-miss league.”

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Clippers guard Patrick Beverley refused to participate:» data-reactid=»25″>Clippers guard Patrick Beverley refused to participate:

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Beverley fights for every inch on (and off) the court. To him, games are decided by effort and grit – not shooting luck.» data-reactid=»28″>Beverley fights for every inch on (and off) the court. To him, games are decided by effort and grit – not shooting luck.

Which might explain why he was so frustrated tonight.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="After losing Game 1 by 23, the Nuggets evened their second-round series with the Clippers with a 110-101 win Saturday. Denver built a 23-point lead in the first half while shooting 76% on 2-pointers and 67% on 3-pointers.» data-reactid=»30″>After losing Game 1 by 23, the Nuggets evened their second-round series with the Clippers with a 110-101 win Saturday. Denver built a 23-point lead in the first half while shooting 76% on 2-pointers and 67% on 3-pointers.

L.A.’s defense wasn’t disruptive, but it wasn’t particularly porous, either. The Nuggets just made shots. So many shots.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Denver’s offense cooled considerably the rest of the way (38% on 2-pointers, 25% on 3-pointers). But that early deficit was too much for L.A. to overcome.» data-reactid=»32″>Denver’s offense cooled considerably the rest of the way (38% on 2-pointers, 25% on 3-pointers). But that early deficit was too much for L.A. to overcome.

Beverley got an early exit with a fourth-quarter ejection:

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="The Nuggets – who just overcame a 3-1 deficit to beat the Jazz in round one – continued to show their fight. Teams that lost Game 1 of a series by at least 20 points had lost Game 2 66% of the time.» data-reactid=»35″>The Nuggets – who just overcame a 3-1 deficit to beat the Jazz in round one – continued to show their fight. Teams that lost Game 1 of a series by at least 20 points had lost Game 2 66% of the time.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="“Game 1, we were tired,” said Denver guard Jamal Murray, who foreshadowed that. “I hate to admit it. But we were tired. We came out sloppy, came out exhausted, fatigued.”» data-reactid=»36″>“Game 1, we were tired,” said Denver guard Jamal Murray, who foreshadowed that. “I hate to admit it. But we were tired. We came out sloppy, came out exhausted, fatigued.”

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Murray (28 points) and Nikola Jokic (26 points and 18 rebounds) led Denver tonight, and several role players helped. Gary Harris (13 points on 4-of-7 3-point shooting with superb defense) was particularly inspiring as he reintegrates into the lineup after injury.» data-reactid=»37″>Murray (28 points) and Nikola Jokic (26 points and 18 rebounds) led Denver tonight, and several role players helped. Gary Harris (13 points on 4-of-7 3-point shooting with superb defense) was particularly inspiring as he reintegrates into the lineup after injury.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="The Nuggets also played better team defense, particularly against Kawhi Leonard (13 points on 4-of-17 shooting).» data-reactid=»38″>The Nuggets also played better team defense, particularly against Kawhi Leonard (13 points on 4-of-17 shooting).

Was Denver’s defense as stifling as the Clippers made it look at times? No. L.A. was both a bit flat and a bit cold.

That just won’t get it done when a high-offensive-ceiling team catches fire.

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