Despite winning three of the first four games of the second round of the 2020 playoffs, Paul George and the Los Angeles Clippers have yet to completely eliminate Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets. After a strong start, the Clippers suffered back-to-back losses in Games 5 and 6, allowing the Nuggets to even the series, 3-3, and force a Game 7. Knowing how the Nuggets took down the Utah Jazz in the first round, some people think the Clippers might be in danger of facing elimination before their highly anticipated face-off against the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference Finals.
Though the Nuggets have already found their rhythm and are gaining more confidence, George remains optimistic about the Clippers' chances of advancing to the Western Conference Finals. In a recent interview with Brian Windhorst of ESPN, George said the Clippers are not panicking, adding he likes their odds of emerging as victors in Game 7.
"We're still in the driver seat. It's not a panic mode. We have a Game 7," George said.
"I like our odds with our group."
It's hard to blame George for having so much confidence. The Clippers entered the 2019-20 NBA season as the heavy favorite to bring home the Larry O'Brien trophy. Aside from having him and Kawhi Leonard, they have one of the deepest rosters in the league. However, if they are serious about winning their first NBA championship title this year, the Clippers shouldn't underestimate the Nuggets and focus on improving their performance on both ends of the floor.
Though most people still considered them as the underdogs in the series, Nuggets Head Coach Mike Malone believes they have what it takes to fully dominate the Western Conference and capture the Larry O'Brien trophy this season.
"We find it funny that the narrative is, 'Oh, the Nuggets are a cute team, what a good story,'" Malone said.
"We were second in the West last year.... Most of this year we were the No. 2 seed in the West until after the All-Star break we lost hold of that. I think it comes down to a tremendous belief and confidence in who we are, what we're about and what we're trying to accomplish."
If the Nuggets become consistent with their performance and find a way to limit the production of Leonard and George on the offensive end of the floor, there's a strong possibility fans will be seeing a different matchup in the conference finals. Game 7 between the Nuggets and the Clippers will take place Tuesday night.