Sept. 16 (UPI) -- For the second time in the 2020 NBA playoffs, the Denver Nuggets have finished off their opponent by winning three straight elimination games after falling behind in the series three games to one -- the first time any franchise has accomplished the feat.
Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray led the Nuggets past the second-seeded Los Angeles Clippers Tuesday night in Game 7 of the Western Conference semifinals. Denver will face the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference Finals.
Murray went off for 40 points in the 104-89 upset in Orlando, Fla. Jokic had 16 points, 22 rebounds and 13 assists.
"Everyone counted us out," Murray told reporters. "It was fun to silence everybody. We love it."
Murray scored 50 points in two games of the previous round against the Utah Jazz, who the Nuggets also defeated in seven games after falling behind in the series 3-1. Denver is the first team in NBA history to do so twice in the same postseason -- and the first franchise to even accomplish the feat twice in the same decade.
Kawhi Leonard and Paul George both struggled for the Clippers in the series finale. Leonard scored 14 points on 6 of 22 shooting and George totaled just 10 points on 4 of 16 shooting. They combined to go 0 for 13 and no points in the fourth quarter.
"We kinda got cold," George said. "All we could do was fight at that point."
Leonard, who led the upstart Toronto Raptors to their first NBA title last season, is now headed home after a profoundly more disappointing exit this year.
The Nuggets and Clippers were tied at 24-24 through the first 12 minutes. Murray then poured in 20 points in the second quarter, but the Clippers held a 56-54 lead at halftime.
The Clippers scored the first five points of the third frame to extend their lead. The Nuggets then responded with a 10-0 run to take a 64-61 advantage with 8:21 remaining in the quarter. Denver led Los Angeles 82-74 entering the fourth quarter.
Murray had 12 points down the stretch to help the Nuggets hold the lead as Leonard and George struggled to make shots. The Nuggets led by as many as 20 points over the final 12 minutes.
Jerami Grant and Gary Harris added 14 points apiece for the Nuggets. Montrezl Harrell paced the Clippers with 20 points in the loss. Lou Williams and Patrick Beverley chipped in 11 points apiece for the Clippers.
"Right when they put pressure on us, honestly I just thought we didn't come through," Clippers coach Doc Rivers said.
"All our guys committed and never got down," Nuggets coach Mike Malone said. "They believed in each other and themselves in light of all the noise outside this series that said we had no chance. We found a way to beat a very good team three times."
Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals is scheduled for 9 p.m. EDT Friday in Orlando.