Jimmy Butler appeared for what was referred to as practice wearing plush blue slippers. During an interview, Kyle Lowry was attempting to divert his attention elsewhere. Nikola Jokic persisted in his assertion that he is unconcerned with statistical information. Jamal Murray discussed how much enjoyment he is getting out of his current situation.
The Denver Nuggets and the Miami Heat only have a little on-court work to do during their off days at this point in the season.
The NBA Finals continue this weekend, with Game 4 in Miami on Friday night. This will be the only time throughout the series that there will be only one day off between games. The Nuggets took back the lead in the series with a 109-94 victory on Wednesday night, largely thanks to historic performances from Jokic and Murray. The Nuggets can take a decisive 3-1 lead if they are victorious in Game 4.
“It’s a wonderful time to be had by all. Extremely enjoyable in every way. “Everyone is laughing and having a good time,” Murray remarked Thursday. “We are working together to figure out how to solve this puzzle. We have all been harboring the desire to arrive at this point for a very long time finally. There are veterans currently playing in our league who, in their 15, 16, or even 17 years of playing, have never gotten to this point. Because this is not something that occurs regularly, we do not wish to treat this chance as though it were commonplace. To be standing here right now is the result of a lot of hard effort.
The victory in Game 3 marked the first time in the history of the NBA that two players achieved a triple-double while scoring 30 points. Murray and Jokic both earned triple-doubles. Jokic had the first game in the history of the finals in which he scored at least 30 points, grabbed at least 20 rebounds, and dished out at least ten assists. As is customary for him, he responded to the news of his most recent statistical success with a resounding yawn and preferred, instead, to entirely focus on what he referred to as the chess game between the Heat and the Nuggets.
“They are one move, and we are another move,” Jokic stated. “I believe that this is the time when the players get to show what they’ve got,” the speaker said.
There were 15 other instances of teammates having triple-doubles in the same game, but never of the 30-point kind. And the fact that this occurred not just in the playoffs but in the NBA Finals adds to the historical significance of the performance.
Naturally, that does not imply that Nuggets head coach Michael Malone was squandering any time by considering that possibility.
“As I watched the film, as we watched it as a staff, and then as we watched it with the team, there was nothing about the historical night that it was,” Malone stated. We are improving in every area that we know needs improvement, and we are working hard to do so.
Malone is very fond of quoting statistics, and it is reasonable to believe that he is aware that holding a 2-1 lead in the championship series does not guarantee anything. During the previous season, Boston had a significant advantage against Golden State. Last year, Phoenix was ahead of Milwaukee by a score of 2-1. In the 2016 NBA Finals, Golden State was ahead 2-1 over Cleveland. In the 2015 NBA Finals, the Cavaliers held that same lead over the Warriors. In the 2013 NBA Finals, San Antonio led the Heat 2-1, and in the 2011 NBA Finals, the Heat led Dallas 2-1.
And each team that led their series 2-1 fell short in the championship. It has occurred in that manner six times in the previous ten occurrences and seven times in the previous 14 occurrences, dating back to Miami’s comeback victory over Dallas in 2006. It used to be the case that a team would always have a 2-1 lead in a series; from 1979 to 2005, there were 22 instances in which a couple had a 2-1 series lead. All 22 of those clubs went on to win the championship in their respective divisions. However, since the Heat won their first championship in 2006, a 2-1 lead has meant little.
Kevin Love, who plays forward for the Heat, advised his teammates to “stay in the saddle” and “stay the course.” “That’s the most important thing we can accomplish right now. We are armed with a strategy that has already been demonstrated to be successful… We are the most capable group of accomplishing what needs to be done. Keep up the practice, and in all that you do, be sure to adhere strictly to the plan; there should be no deviations. If we can accomplish that, we will have given ourselves a chance.
Murray and Jokic performed exceptionally well, and Denver’s 58-33 advantage in rebounding in Game 3 was not primarily the result of a lack of effort on the part of the Nuggets or any other factor. However, there were several things that Erik Spoelstra, the head coach of the Heat, believes should be improved upon on Friday.
“The more experience you have, the more perspective you have about how difficult this is,” Spoelstra said. “The more experience you have, the more difficult this is.” “These are challenges that are at an exceedingly high level of difficulty. When it’s all said and done, you come away feeling even more thankful that you had the chance to compete at the top level. This is something that each and every one of us desires. This is the stage where you want to be able to compete, have everything settled between those four lines, and find out where your team stands compared to the other teams. However, it is not an easy task… It’s the most difficult level of competition there is.”
A never-ending back-and-forth between ups and downs, win a few, lose a few, all culminating in a postseason run that took a No. 8 seed to the NBA Finals, has been the narrative of the Heat’s season nearly from the opening night of the regular season. Should either team be victorious on Friday, the series would be leveled. At this point, that is all that can be asked for from Miami.
Butler was quoted as saying, “We’re going to come out with a lot more energy.” “We are going to compete at an extremely high level. The plan is for us to purchase one for the house.”