Clippers Claw Their Way To 3-1 Lead
The Los Angeles Clippers pride themselves on their grit, which was on full display in Wednesday night's 96-85 win over the Denver Nuggets.
The defense came up huge, Kawhi Leonard was his usual superstar self, and now, Los Angeles has a 3-1 series lead. Here are the 3 biggest takeaways from Game 4.
1. The Clippers' defense shows its full potential
Other than a slight letup in the second quarter, Los Angeles hung its hat on the defensive end of the court, holding the Nuggets to 39.7% shooting from the floor. In fact, Denver only crept up close to 40% shooting in the closing minutes of the fourth quarter, when the Clips' win was well in hand.
For the series, the Clippers have now limited the Nuggets to under 108 points per 100 possessions, which would have been in the bottom 6 in the league for scoring during the regular season.
2. An unsettling streak ends for Los Angeles
Dating back to the Chris Paul-Blake Griffin era, the Clippers haven't always seized the day in the postseason, especially in Game 4s where they have a 2-1 series lead. But that changed on Wednesday.
As NBA fans well know, and as Nick Wright pointed out above, a 3-1 series lead is far from a sure thing. Given the Clippers' tenacity and how this series has played out so far, though, Doc Rivers' squad has to be feeling pretty good heading into Game 5.
3. A "boring" night of domination for The Klaw
Kawhi quietly led all scorers with 30 points and reached a new career high for assists in a playoff game with 9, finishing just one dime shy of his first career postseason triple-double.
His steady, elite performance on both ends of the court has the Clippers just one game away from the Western Conference finals for the first time in franchise history – and, perhaps, a much-anticipated matchup with LeBron James and the Lakers.