The Utah Jazz and the Denver Nuggets starring in the first neutral-court Game 7 in NBA history absolutely gave it a befitting showdown.
After six of the highest-scoring individual performances in playoff history, surprisingly, Game 7 was completely and utterly dominated by defence.
The Jazz only managed 36 points in the first half. The Nuggets scored 15 points in the first 16 minutes of the second half. The stars looked to have exhausted every gas in the tank, hurting and practically limped to the finish line. But eventually, Denver stood on top, 80-78.
They will now take on the Los Angeles Clippers in the second round.
The Jazz will be able to take pride in a tremendous comeback effort after falling down by as many as 19 in the first half despite losing the game and the entire series.
Donovan Mitchell carried the offensive load in the third quarter, and then Rudy Gobert owned the paint in the fourth. But a hook shot from Nikola Jokic with 27.5 seconds remaining gave the Nuggets the game and the series.
After perhaps the most exciting seven first-round games in NBA history, Denver managed to get by Utah in a Game 7.
- NBA: 2019-20 NBA Most Improved Player award goes to Brandon Ingram of the New Orleans Pelicans
- NBA Playoffs 2020: Jimmy Butler stuns the Milwaukee Bucks as Miami win Game 1 of the second round
Victory didn’t come cheap though. It took everything Denver had just to salvage the win. Jamal Murray looks to be playing through pain. The entire roster was exhausted by the end of Game 7.
And their reward for surviving one of the most gruelling first-round series of all time?
A second-round date with the Clippers.
The last two times these teams met, the Nuggets were blown out of the building by a combined 42 points. Murray averaged only 13.3 points on 37.5 per cent shooting against Los Angeles this season, and that came when he was healthy and rested. Denver deserves to celebrate this victory, but the real test is yet to come as they look on to Thursday.