The first-round series between the Nuggets and Jazz had been an offensive supernova, defined by the incredible scoring performances of Donovan Mitchell and Jamal Murray. Through the first six games of this series, Denver and Utah had combined to average 234.3 points per game. Somehow, in Game 7, they combined for just 158.
The magic that had sustained Mitchell and Murray finally gave out and almost everyone else on both teams struggled to make anything. In a game that was decided by two points, there were eight missed free throws and 59 missed 3-pointers between the two teams. In the end, a frantic series on the final two possessions saw Nikola Jokic sinking a wild prayer and Donovan Mitchell getting stripped from behind to give the Nuggets the win.
What else did you miss in Game 7 between the Nuggets and Jazz?
Turning point: Regression to the mean
Through six games of this series, Donovan Mitchell and Jamal Murray had produced historic offensive numbers — combining for 70.8 points per game with a collective effective field goal percentage of 68.3. Everything was falling for both players but it was a formula that couldn’t last. In Game 7, they combined for 39 points on 43 shots but that regression hit Donovan Mitchell much harder. A superb 30-point offensive game from Nikola Jokic helped lift the Nuggets but Rudy Gobert and Jordan Clarkson were the only other Jazz players to hit double-digits and Mitchell racked up nine turnovers. It’s heartbreaking to see Mitchell put so much into this series and run out of gas just short of the finish line, but that’s just the way it goes sometimes.
MVP: Nikola Jokic
Jamal Murray’s magic finally faded a bit, but luckily he had Nikola Jokic to pick up the slack. Jokic finished with 30 points on 23 shots and added 14 rebounds and 4 assists. His huge turnaround jump hook ended up being the basket that put the Nuggets ahead for good.
Murray and Mitchell were the defining players of this series but Jokic was the difference in Game 7, and he’s the reason the Nuggets are advancing instead of the Jazz.
Meme-able moment: Someone blew a 3-1 lead
Time for Twitter to get some jokes off.