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The Night in the Association: September 11th, 2020

What a night of NBA action. 

We were able to witness some truly sensational basketball. The Nuggets managed to live to fight another day, and the Celtics fortune of making the NBA Finals is looking even greener. Let’s relive this sensational night of hoops once more.

Nuggets vs Clippers

AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill

It was a rough couple of days after the Nuggets’s game four loss.

Emotions were high and the team had blown a chance yet again to win a pivotal game. It all looked just about over, even during some parts of game five. Jamal Murray was inefficient, they were down sixteen at one point, and they didn’t receive much bench support. Things were heading towards the Clippers closing the door on the Nuggets’ playoff dreams.

Then, the fourth quarter hit.

Once the fourth quarter had arrived, the Nuggets activated a different gear. Being down entering the quarter, Denver simplified the game for themselves. They realized that if they were outscored in the fourth, their season was coming to its demise. The Nuggets knew that they must strike gold.

In the fourth, the whole team exploded in a collective effort in order to sail past the Clippers. Nikola Jokic, the best center in basketball, led the way with eleven points on perfect shooting from the floor during the fourth quarter. Jamal Murray added nine points on 3/7 shooting from the field, and hit all of his three point shots during the quarter. As the game was nearing its end, things were bound to come full circle. The circle finishes at Michael Porter Jr.

Michael Porter Jr scored all seven of his game points in the fourth quarter including hitting the game winning three point shot and game winning block & defensive rebound. This game winner came after his controversial postgame interview after their disappointing loss in game four. In those comments he expressed his feelings that he deserved to be more involved in the offense and that if the Nuggets allowed more players to score the ball, it would make them less predictable and harder to beat.

At the concluding moments of this contest, he backed up his statements with his play and proved to his coaches that he should be more involved in the offensive play calls, which led to the Nuggets ultimately winning this game by outsourcing LA 38-25 in the fourth quarter.

For Los Angeles, Kawhi Leonard yet again was nothing short of sensational. Leonard led scorers for both teams with 36 points on 12/24 shooting from the field including five three pointers made throughout the course of this game. In the fourth quarter especially, Leonard was the Clippers only primary source of offense, scoring thirteen points, which was more than half the team’s fourth quarter totals.

The Clippers will look to end the Nuggets once and for all on Sunday Night, but for now, Denver lives to fight another day in their rush for gold.

Celtics vs Raptors

Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Game 7.

The best two words in all of sports.

This phrase is something sports fans hear almost every year, but every single time those two words are said, there is excitement, panic, fear, and joy. Mixed emotions from several different fan bases and fans who are completely unbiased to the events that take place.

Ladies and gentleman, if one is to look for a game seven that matches all these descriptions, this game certainly defines it all. 

Both teams were up by sizable margins at different points during this contest. The Celtics led by twelve points at one point, while the Raptors led by seven at another. However, these teams really never seemed to let go of one another, as they were never able to gain an advantage large enough to pull away. They always let the other team crawl back in the game, up to the very last possessions.

The young duo of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown were both electric throughout the entire course of this duel. Throughout the previous battles, neither Brown or Tatum could find consistency in their performances, especially at the same time. Tonight, however, the tale was quite different.

The duo combined for 50 points, with Tatum leading the way with 29 points while Brown had 21 points. At some parts throughout this game, when either Tatum or Brown were cold or just not scoring very effectively, the other one rose to the occasion and stepped it up, which was a critical factor to Boston’s success. 

Marcus Smart was spectacular as well. Although he didn’t have his most efficient performance, he still managed to score 16 points. He contributed in multiple other ways which truly made his impact felt, especially on the defensive end. The All-Defensive First Team guard was sensational tonight, forcing the Raptors to take many tough shots and coming up with a clutch block on Norman Powell with under forty seconds left in the contest.

Kemba Walker was extremely disappointing throughout the first three quarters. He followed up his abysmal five point performance with six points on 3/11 shooting through the first three quarters. His horrendous play itself was one of the sole reasons the Raptors were able to stay in this game for so long. If he had performed like the Kemba Walker we have grown accustomed to watching, this game wouldn’t have been close.

However, he returned to his natural form in the fourth quarter, when the game came down to the wire and mattered most. Cardiac Kemba scored eight points in the fourth quarter on slightly better efficiency than what he had for the majority of this game. He also hit timely free throws which ultimately sealed the door on the Toronto Raptors’ season.

For Toronto, no one player in particular performed well. Kyle Lowry had cooled off from his sensational game 6 performance, where he scored 33 points on 12/20 shooting. In this contest, he only scored 16 points on 5/15 shooting. During the losses in this series, Kyle Lowry’s production was significantly down, which is a testament to how impactful he is on the basketball court.

Pascal Siakam had performed better than he had for the majority of the series during this game, but that isn’t saying much considering how abysmal his production has been throughout this series. Siakam scored 13 points on 5/12 shooting from the field, which is just flat out unacceptable production to receive from a main scoring option in a win or go home game.

The Celtics managed to crawl their way into conquering Jurassic Park, but will that same grit and determination be enough to contain the white hot Miami Heat?

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