The Denver Nuggets revalidated last Wednesday’s victory at the Miami Heat field and their 108-95 victory at the Kaseya Center gave them a 3-1 lead in the NBA Finals. which leaves them one step away from celebrating the first title in their history.
The Nuggets will be able to sentence the Finals this Monday in Denver, where they only lost one game in this postseason, after adding two wins out of two on his visit to the Heat.
Michael Malone’s team was close to 50% in field goals and connected 14 triples of 28, driven by a magnificent Aaron Gordon with 27 points (11 of 15 on shots), six rebounds and six assists, and by a Serbian Nikola Jokic who he signed a double double of 23 points and twelve rebounds.
Jokic, double MVP, became the first player in NBA history capable of sealing more than 500 points, 250 rebounds and 150 assists in a postseason. Even on a day in which Jamal Murray did not shine, with fifteen points and a modest fifteen of 17 shooting, the Nuggets could count on their wardrobe and the brilliant contribution of Bruce Brown (21 points and three triples).
In the Heat, Jimmy Butler was the best scorer with 25 points, seven rebounds and seven assists and Bam Adebayo contributed a double double of twenty points and eleven rebounds. Coming off the bench, Kyle Lowry chipped in thirteen, Duncan Robinson chipped in twelve, and Caleb Martin chipped in eleven.
Miami Heat struggled despite defeat
The Heat did not lack commitment, who with soccer stars like Neymar and Vinicius sitting at the foot of the track and completely dedicated to the locals, stayed alive until the last two minutes, despite facing a true colossus. They went down with honor against a solid, determined and superior Nuggets in all facets of the game.
The Heat crowd was not up to par, leaving the stands practically empty with more than two minutes to play, when the team trailed by ten points. Jokic, the true killer of Game 3, got off to a rocky start and scared his team when he landed on his right ankle midway through the first period.
He continued to compete and his Nuggets reached a seven-point margin (18-11), but he was conditioned by pain and retired to the locker room shortly after to receive treatments.
The Heat reacted forcefully and closed the period with a great 3-pointer from Butler at the buzzer that capped a 10-2 run to take a 21-20 lead. However, Aaron Gordon, with fifteen points in the second quarter and seven of eight on shots, and Jokic, who returned with a monumental triple and signed ten points in that period (16 at halftime), sustained the Nuggets and made the game count. tremendous physical power from Malone’s infield.
They reached their maximum advantage at 54-45 with 1.35 to play, but a great end of the period by the Heat allowed them to reduce it to four points (55-51), led by Butler and Adebayo who again put the public in the match with a powerful one-handed dunk.
It was an illusion for Miami. Denver hit the table in Game 3 driven by a dominant Jokic, capable of directing all of his team’s offensive actions on a not-so-brilliant night for Murray. Among his great plays, he lit up with a great ‘alley oop’ for an irrepressible Gordon, who scored another nine points and reached 25 points, nine of thirteen on shots, with a devastating triple for the Nuggets 86-73 .
The duel was going downhill for the Nuggets. The Heat went on a long series of turnovers when the game was interrupted for about ten minutes due to a problem with the Heat’s basket after a missed dunk attempt by Adebayo. In addition, a woman sitting in the Heat’s dugout area had to be treated for a health problem.
There is no team in the NBA with better numbers than the Heat in the fourth quarters after trailing by ten or more points and Spoelstra’s men proved it again, defying logic at times and getting within six points (86-80).
They started with an 8-0 run with a great basket and foul by Butler, and also forced Jokic’s fifth personal foul with 9.24 left on the clock. Adebayo brought the crowd to their feet with a wonderful block shot off Murray and the Heat gave themselves a chance.
The Heat took a chance, but the Nuggets, even with Jokic on the bench, continued to respond. Bruce Brown managed a three-point play to put a double-digit difference in the light again. There were 2:35 minutes to go and the stands began to empty, a gesture from a large part of the public not up to the effort offered by Miami on the track. Another triple by Bruce Brown and one by Kentavious Caldwell Pope definitively sentenced the clash.
The Nuggets party opened, with about a hundred fans in the stands singing with pride and dreaming of the first NBA title in the franchise’s history, which is now just one win away. This Monday, in Denver, may be history day.
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