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Jamal Murray and I are 'like a couple', says Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic

Watch the opening game of the Western Conference Finals between the Denver Nuggets and the Los Angeles Lakers live on Sky Sports in the early hours of Saturday morning

Sky Sports NBA/Associated Press

Wednesday 16 September 2020 10:24, UK

Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic celebrate the Denver Nuggets' Game 7 victory over the LA Clippers 2:37
Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray say the team 'believe in each other' after the Denver Nuggets came back from 3-1 down to defeat the LA Clippers

Nikola Jokic joked that he and team-mate Jamal Murray are "like a couple" after the dynamic Denver duo led the Nuggets to a shock Game 7 win over the heavily-favoured LA Clippers.

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Murray and Nikola Jokic led another stunning turnaround as the Nuggets advanced to the Western Conference Finals for the first time since 2009. Murray scored 40 points, Jokic had a triple-double by the third quarter and Denver again overcame a double-digit deficit to upset the Clippers 104-89 on Tuesday night.

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Watch the Denver Nuggets celebrate in the locker room after their Game 7 defeat of the LA Clippers

Asked about his chemistry with Murray after the Nuggets' victory Jokic said: "It's not just this season, it is a lot of years. We are just improving. We have talks, we have fights, we are like a couple."

Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray celebrate Denver's Game 7 win over the LA Clippers
Image: Jokic and Murray celebrate Denver's Game 7 win over the LA Clippers

"Like 'Joker' said yesterday, we played with no pressure," Murray added. "We go out there and hoop, we go out there and believe in each other. We made some shots tonight to get us the 'dub'. It was a collective effort. It's not just a one-two punch. We have a whole squad that can really hoop and get the job done."

The Nuggets became the first team in NBA history to rally from a 3-1 series deficit twice in the same postseason. Even more history? Denver are the third team in the US major pro sports to rally from a pair of 3-1 deficits in the same playoffs, joining the 1985 Kansas City Royals and 2003 Minnesota Wild.

Nikola Jokci of the Denver Nuggets 2:06
Nikola Jokic scored 16 points, 22 rebounds and 13 assists to help the Denver Nuggets to a Game 7 victory over the LA Clippers

The seven-foot Jokic had a monster game with 16 points, 13 assists and 22 rebounds, the most by a Nuggets player in an NBA playoff game. He broke his record of 19 that he set last season and shared with Marcus Camby.

In a familiar trend, the Nuggets found themselves down by 12 in the first half. They also trailed 61-54 with 10:50 left in the third when they caught fire. The Nuggets went on a 35-13 run to build up a 15-point lead in the fourth quarter.

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They led by as many as 20. Murray helped the Nuggets pour it on down the stretch to give coach Michael Malone a 49th birthday present. The team also rallied back from double-digit margins in their last two games as well to stun the Clippers.

"I had a talk (I was going to give) before the game, but I didn't," Jokic said. "(I was going to tell them) whatever we do, I am going to remember this team because this is a special crew. Nobody wants us here. Nobody thinks we can do something. But we proved to everybody we can do something."

Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic 1:59
Jamal Murray scored 40 points in the Denver Nuggets' Game 7 defeat of the LA Clippers

Murray added: "We took a hit, down 3-1. But we are resilient, we fought back and we put them under pressure."

With the Los Angeles Lakers awaiting them in the Western Conference Finals, Jokic insisted the third-seeded Nuggets start their next challenge feeling no pressure themselves.

Denver Nuggets and LA Clippers in Game 7 of playoffs 2:06
Highlights of Game 7 of the Western Conference semi-final between the Denver Nuggets and the LA Clippers

"Next is the Lakers, another tough opponent for us. We are going to be out there having fun," he said.

"If you are going to go out there thinking about them, it is going to be a long night for us. We have to go out there with effort and have fun. It's simple for us."

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