Kawhi Leonard block caps late Clippers stand to take 2-1 series lead over Nuggets

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For most of Monday’s Game 3, the Denver Nuggets put on an offensive showcase.

Then the Los Angeles Clippers had seen enough.

The Clippers clamped down on defense late to turn a 78-68 Nuggets lead into a 113-107 win to take a 2-1 series edge in the Western Conference semifinals.

They did so while holding the Nuggets to two points over a 3:53 stretch late in the final quarter that included a Kawhi Leonard block that Jamal Murray will not soon forget.

Paul George led the scoring effort with 32 points alongside four rebounds, four assist and two steals. Meahwhile, Leonard filled up the box score with 23 points, 14 rebounds, six assists and a pair of blocks, including this fourth-quarter stuff of Murray at the rim with 1:47 remaining.

The play was emblematic of the tone shift of the final stanza that saw the Clippers outscore the Nuggets 29-19 while exerting their defensive will. It was also a prime example of Leonard’s unique assets that make him one of the best defenders in the game.

“That’s an extra long middle finger,” George said of Leonard’s block postgame. “Like it kept growing or somethin’.”

Doc called it
The late-game stand proved Doc Rivers prescient. The Clippers head coach told Yahoo Sports’ and TNT’s Chris Haynes early in the game that the first team to make a defensive stand would win the game.

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