Nuggets’ Jokic and Murray Shine, Secure 2-1 Lead Over Heat

Nuggets' Jokic and Murray Shine, Secure 2-1 Lead Over Heat
Nuggets' Jokic and Murray Shine, Secure 2-1 Lead Over Heat

On Wednesday night, Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray made history, and the Denver Nuggets are now just two victories away from making some serious history as a team.

In Game 3 of the NBA Finals, the Denver Nuggets defeated the Miami Heat by a score of 109-94 to reclaim the lead in the series. Jokic and Murray made history by being the first teammates in NBA Finals competition to both achieve triple-doubles.

“By far, their greatest performance as a duo in their seven years together,” Nuggets coach Michael Malone said after his club drew closer to Denver’s first championship with a victory.

Jokic finished the game with 32 points, 21 rebounds, and ten assists, making it the first game in the history of the NBA Finals or at least the first game since assists have been tracked to have all three of those stats combined. Murray finished with 34 points, ten rebounds, and ten assists, and he grabbed the necessary rebound with nine seconds left on the clock.

The Nuggets gained a 2-1 advantage in the game after outrebounding the Heat with a score of 58 to 33. Friday marks the beginning of Game 4 in Miami.

“I’m just glad we won the game,” stated Jokic. “It was a significant victory for us since they prevailed in our stadium. Simply put, we did not want to fall behind 2-1.”

Bam Adebayo finished the game with 22 points and 17 rebounds, and Miami’s Jimmy Butler scored 28 points for the Hurricanes. Caleb Martin contributed 10 points for Miami in the scoring column.

After falling behind by at least 12 points in their seven comeback efforts, Miami has established itself as the comeback champion of these playoffs. Malone reminded his team about Miami’s penchant for comebacks before the start of the fourth quarter when the Heat was already trailing by 14 points.

According to Malone, “They won the fourth quarter in both of the first two games.” “Tonight, we take the lead going into the fourth quarter, and we go on to win the game.”

His group was attentive.

The lead finally reached 21, the result was never genuinely in doubt, and Jokic appeared to be back in cruise control for the most part during the game. Duncan Robinson hit a 3-pointer with 1:22 on the clock to pull the Heat to within nine points, but the Heat were unable to pull off an exciting comeback victory. The Nuggets could not be caught, thanks to Murray and Jokic’s play, since they were too far ahead.

“You have to expect there will be elite talent in the finals,” stated Erik Spoelstra, the head coach of the Heat. “And both guys possess talent at the very highest level.”

Jokic is now officially the seventh player in NBA Finals history to have two triple-doubles during the same series. Both Magic Johnson and LeBron James were able to accomplish this feat in three different championship games. Each of Draymond Green, Wilt Chamberlain, Larry Bird, and Butler won one championship series while averaging two triple-doubles per game.

It was his 10th triple-double of these playoffs, extending his single-season record, and he was not worried by anything that Miami threw his way. Jokic finished the game with a shooting percentage of 12 for 21, including 7 for eight from the free throw line, and he played a total of 44 minutes.

“We were more locked in, more focused,” Jokic said about the team’s performance.

Christian Braun’s performance off the bench for the Nuggets was outstanding. In 19 minutes, he played; he shot 7-for-8 from the field and scored 15 points. Aaron Gordon added 11 for Denver.

In the second half, Miami never took the lead. Following a dunk by Adebayo with 3:18 remaining in the first half, the Heat took a 44-42 lead. Murray then hit a 3-pointer, which was the evening’s seventh and final lead change. At halftime, the score was 53-48, but Denver took the lead for the first time in double digits early in the third quarter. They continued to extend their advantage throughout the third quarter, eventually leading by as many as 19 points at one point.

“We took care of business,” said Braun. “I’m happy to report that.”

TIP-INS

Nuggets: Denver utilized Reggie Jackson in the first quarter, marking the first time since Game 2 of the West finals that they went nine deep in the opening 12 minutes of a game. Since March 14 and November 30, 2016, Denver had not suffered back-to-back defeats at the hands of Miami. Jokic participated in both games, but Murray could only participate in the second of them early in his rookie year.

It had been four years since the last time Miami had hosted a finals game. The 2020 NBA Finals were played in the “restart bubble” around Orlando. As a result, the Heat did not have any “home” games during the series. Wednesday marked the 11th anniversary of the game in which LeBron James saved his team from elimination by scoring 45 points, grabbing 15 rebounds, and dishing out five assists while playing at Boston in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals. After taking Game 7, the Heat went on to defeat Oklahoma City and win James’s first championship.

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