In the primary quarter of the Clippers’ 96-85 win Wednesday, they put the brakes on the Nuggets, with Porter’s bin and 4 made shots from Nikola Jokic the main field objectives for Denver in the initial 12 minutes.
“It was just a great intensity. They stuck to the game plan. We didn’t do a lot of individual thinking,” coach Doc Rivers said after the win.
“But I just thought we were competitive. We competed. We played hard. We made mistakes, but we covered them up because we were playing hard. And more important than playing hard, I thought we were competitive.”
The exertion turned around a pattern from the series, with the Denver offense opening games by burning the nets before the Clippers hem in.
The 12 points Wednesday was the most noticeably awful hostile quarter of the end of the season games for the Nuggets, with the group making just 5 of 17 from the floor, with Jokic hitting 4 of them? In the initial three rounds of the series, Denver hit 62.3% of its shots from the field, an average of 35.3 points.
“I mean, listen, I just think it’s us,” Rivers said before Game 4. “Give Denver credit. They’re an excellent offensive team, but we have proven through the game when we play right defensively, make the right rotations we’re pretty good, so just gotta do that from the start.”
Denver’s shot-making woes supported The Clippers’ first-quarter defense Wednesday. However, even with Denver missing on certain looks, the Clippers were playing with an alternate degree of power from the landfill.
Ivica Zubac, who has had the toughest job in the series attempting to stop Jokic, set the pace with a stop on the right square. In any event, when Jokic spun Zubac out of his shoes a couple of plays later, the Clippers didn’t yield.
“It’s just keeping him in front, using my length to bother him … just pressure him,” George said.
“I think it gets lost sometimes with PG because he is such a great shooter,” Rivers said before the game. “It just seems like the better the shooter you are, the more [people] forget about how good you are defensive. For whatever reason, I think that’s true. But he has been sensational. You can always tell where he’s at like healthwise and mentally by the way he’s playing defense.”
The equivalent by and large remains constant for the Clippers, and in the main quarter, they looked truly well.
Yet, Denver mentor Michael Malone said the Clippers could change things if they work on their defense.