LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – It only took a few plays for Denver coach Michael Malone to like what he was seeing Saturday night. The Nuggets were physical on both ends, getting whatever they wanted offensively and setting a tone defensively.
“We were a noticeably different team," Malone said.
It led to a noticeably different result, too.
Blown out in Game 1, the Nuggets led wire-to-wire in Game 2 of their Western Conference semifinal series with the Los Angeles Clippers. Jamal Murray scored 27 points, Nikola Jokic had 26 points and 18 rebounds and the Nuggets prevailed 110-101 to knot the series at a game apiece.
Gary Harris and Paul Millsap each added 13 points for Denver, which lost by 23 in the series opener.
“We were tired," Murray said about the Game 1 performance. “We came out sloppy, we came out exhausted, we didn't make shots and it showed."
That wasn't the case Saturday. Murray and Jokic were a combined 20 for 38 from the floor, 7 for 13 from 3-point range.
Paul George scored 22 points for the Clippers, who got 15 from Ivica Zubac and endured a rare off night offensively from Kawhi Leonard. The two-time NBA Finals MVP had 13 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists, but shot only 4 for 17.