Just how good were the Denver Nuggets in Game 2? Mike Malone’s team brilliantly outplayed the mighty LA Clippers to level the series 1-1. The Nuggets successfully contained Kawhi Leonard on the night, which was the primary reason behind their success. They locked up Kawhi so tight that the ‘Klaw’ failed to register a single field goal in the second half.
The Nuggets have already proven that they’re a team full of courage and grit. Their first-round series against the Jazz went right down to the wire, and in the end, it was Denver that came out on top in Game 7.
Likewise, after facing defeat in Game 1 against the Clippers, the Nuggets soared back with a dominant display of basketball in the second matchup. As addressed above, locking up Kawhi proved to be a major factor behind their success.
The Nuggets did restrict him from scoring a field goal in the second half. That’s very unlikely of Kawhi to ensure a slump like that. When was the last time Leonard went the entire second half of an NBA playoff game without a field goal? To be precise, it was on April 30, 2015, when he was with the San Antonio Spurs!
It’s been five years since it last happened, and Kawhi has even won a championship and a Finals MVP award in the meantime!
To say Kawhi had an off-night would be an understatement. The 29-year-old would be extremely disappointed with the way he played, and there was something just not right about him in the night. Coming into Game 2, Kawhi was averaging 32.2 PPG in the 2020 NBA Playoffs.
Kawhi consistently set the tone for the Clippers this series and carried them on his back for six games against the Dallas Mavericks. However, in Game 2 against the Nuggets, he could only post 13.0 points with a dismal field goal accuracy of 23.5%. Moreover, Kawhi scoring under 15.0 points in a playoff game is a rarity. He’s set a high standard for himself, that we’ve hardly seen him go under fifteen in a playoff game.
With an uncharacteristic performance against the Nuggets, the 6’7” forward just snapped his 47-game playoff streak where he scored over 15.0 points. Undoubtedly, the end of his record would gut him. But there are more important things that he needs to worry about.
It looks like the Nuggets have found their rhythm against the Clippers, which makes them dangerous as the series is far from over. Game 3 will be a challenge for Kawhi to rise back up on the court. Can he gain his confidence back and maul the Nuggets in the upcoming fixture?
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