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Denver trump Clippers in Game 7 to clinch place in Western Conference finals

The Nuggets will face the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference finals.

Kawhi Leonard, left, could not inspire the Los Angeles Clippers to a historic victory.
Kawhi Leonard, left, could not inspire the Los Angeles Clippers to a historic victory.
Image: Mark J Terrill/AP

THE DENVER NUGGETS have spoiled hopes for an all-Los Angeles Western Conference finals with a stunning 104-89 game seven win over the Clippers.

Just as they have done numerous times already in these play-offs, Denver made the most of a third quarter explosion to resign the Clippers to an eighth franchise loss at the Conference semi-finals stage.

Although LA took a two-point lead into the break, there was nothing they could do in the second half as Denver’s dynamic duo of Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray took full control of the game and refused to let it go.

Jokic, who had a triple-double by the third quarter, finished with 16 points, 22 rebounds and 13 assists while Murray added 40 points.

Meanwhile, Kawhi Leonard and Paul George saved their worst play-off performances for last, combining for just 24 points.

The result sees Denver move on to face the Lakers for a spot in their first NBA finals.

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It took an almighty block from Bam Adebayo to deny a potentially game-winning dunk from Jayson Tatum, but the Miami Heat did just enough to secure a thrilling 117-114 overtime win over the Boston Celtics in game one of the Eastern Conference finals.

Although the Celtics went on a couple of runs at the start and end of regular time, neither side looked definitively superior to the other as both teams matched each other on both sides of the court.

The result came down to the wire twice – once when Tatum missed a game-winning three at the end of regulation and again when he was stuffed at the rim by Adebayo in the dying seconds of overtime.

Goran Dragic led the way for Miami with 29 points, while Tatum finished with 30.

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