Nuggets complete comeback vs. Jazz, advance to West semifinals


The Denver Nuggets became just the 12th team in NBA history Tuesday night to overcome a 3-1 playoff series deficit with three consecutive wins over the Utah Jazz to advance to the Western Conference semifinals.

Big man Nikola Jokic scored 30 points and had 14 rebounds in the Nuggets' 80-78 Game 7 series finale in Orlando, Fla.

The Nuggets won Game 1 in overtime before losing three straight games. Denver rallied to win Game 5 and took Game 6 on Sunday to tie the series.

"It was kind of back and forth," Jokic told reporters. "Before the series started, I thought it was going to be interesting, but I didn't think it would be this interesting."


Jokic scored nine points in the first 12 minutes to help the Nuggets earn a 26-21 lead entering the second quarter on Tuesday at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex inside Walt Disney World Resort.

Denver used an 8-2 run to push their lead to 37-23 at the start of the second quarter and went on another 7-0 run later in the frame to lead by as many as 19 points.

Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell had just seven points in the first half, but responded with 13 points in the third quarter to help Utah close the gap to just five points as the game entered the fourth quarter. Mitchell's barrage sparked a 14-3 Jazz run.

The Jazz put together a 13-0 run from the end of the third quarter through the fourth quarter to take a 68-65 edge with 8:06 remaining.

The game was tied five times down the stretch before Jokic hit a hook shot with 27.8 seconds remaining to give the Nuggets their final lead. A wild sequence in the final seconds -- which included a Utah turnover and a missed layup by Denver -- ended with Jazz guard Mike Conley narrowly missing what would've been a series-winning 3-pointer at the final buzzer.

Mitchell finished with 22 points and nine rebounds, but nine turnovers, in the loss. Gobert had 19 points and 18 rebounds for Utah. Jamal Murray had 17 points and four assists in the win.

"Sometimes that's just the way it works," Mitchell said. "Credit to them. They made a play. Credit to Jokic for making the hook shot.

"We fought hard and came back."

The Nuggets next face the Los Angeles Clippers in Game 1 of their Western Conference semifinal series at 9 p.m. EDT Thursday in Orlando. The winner of that series will face the Los Angeles Lakers or the winner of the Houston Rockets and Oklahoma City Thunder series in the Western Conference finals.

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By THEREWXNDZ

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