LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) — The Jamal Murray-Donovan Mitchell duel will be settled in the first Game 7 in the bubble. Murray extended his torrid run with 50 more points, leading the Denver Nuggets to a 119-107 victory over the Utah Jazz on Sunday night.
Murray had his second 50-point game of the series to equal Mitchell, who finished with 44 in this one. No player has ever had more in an entire postseason.
50 points. Again.
— Denver Nuggets (@nuggets) August 31, 2020
They will go at it one more time Tuesday night, with the winner advancing to face the Los Angeles Clippers.
The Clippers finished off the Dallas Mavericks in six games on the same court a few hours earlier.
Denver is trying to become the 12th team to rally from a 3-1 deficit to win a series and the first since 2016, when the Cleveland Cavaliers completed the only one of those comebacks that came in the NBA Finals.
The Nuggets won the opener, but the Jazz won the next three games and were in good shape to finish it in Game 5, holding a 15-point lead in the third quarter.
Murray led the charge back in that game, finishing with 42 points, and then was a sizzling 17 of 24 in Game 6, going 9 for 12 behind the 3-point arc.
Mitchell also hit nine 3-pointers and increased what was the NBA’s top-scoring average in these playoffs at 37.6 points per game.
In the fourth quarter alone, Murray outscored Mitchell 21-17, helping prevent the Jazz from ever getting close enough to have a real chance of finishing the series.
Murray had a little more help, with Nikola Jokic scoring 22 points and Jerami Grant adding 18.
Mike Conley had 21 points for the Jazz, but Rudy Gobert and Jordan Clarkson were each only held to 11.
A seventh game between the third-seeded Nuggets and No. 6 Jazz seems fitting. Though Denver won all three meetings during the regular season, the total margin was just 11 points.
The Jazz came into the day topping all teams in the postseason in field goal percentage and 3-point percentage, and ranking third in scoring with 121.8 points per game. And they looked early as if they would eclipse all those numbers.
The Nuggets started 5 of 6 but were just trying to keep up as the Jazz hit their first seven shots. Conley made a 3-pointer from the corner while falling down to beat the shot clock and then later banked in one, keeping Utah rolling even on the possessions when Denver defended well.
But the Jazz left plenty of points on the board by going 3 for 9 on free throws, so their lead was only six. Murray then heated up on his way to a 14-point second quarter and Utah shot just 4 for 16 as the Nuggets surged to a 10-point advantage before taking a 61-56 lead to the locker room.
Nuggets: Gary Harris got his first action in the series after recovering from a right hip muscle strain. He finished with four points. … Torrey Craig walked off the floor with a towel covering his face after being hit while battling for rebound position in the third quarter but stayed in the game after the previous play was under review.
Jazz: Utah finished 18 of 36 (50%) from 3-point range. … Georges Niang scored 10 points.
By BRIAN MAHONEY, AP Basketball Writer
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