Denver Nuggets 109 vs 94 Miami Heat summary: stats and highlights | NBA Finals Game 3
The Denver Nuggets brought calm back to the Rockies with a resounding Game 3 win over the Miami Heat at the Kaseya Center on Wednesday night. Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray became the first duo ever to post 30 point triple-doubles in the same game as the Nuggets cruised to a 109-94 win to take a 2-1 series lead in the NBA Finals.
Murray comes out firing
After losing Game 2 in Denver Nikola Jokic was unsettlingly calm in his postgame interview saying “sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.” The tranquil nature of his response should come as no surprise. We have seen how he plays the game, and on Wednesday night in Miami he brought that calm back to the fans in Colorado with a historic performance as the Nuggets took home court advantage back in the series.
Two things that came out of the game in Denver on Sunday were Jamal Murray’s slow start, going for 0 points in the first quarter, and Jokic’s inability to distribute the ball like we are so accustomed to seeing. Those were things that the Nuggets addressed immediately out of the gate as Murray scored 8 points in the first five minutes and Jokic had 14, 12 and 7 assists by halftime.
The first half went back and forth as Jimmy Butler showed up in the opening part of the game for the first time in this series. He had 10 in the first quarter as both teams traded shares of the lead and the largest lead either team had after the first half was 5.
Denver’s defense locked down in 2nd half
Miami was struggling to shoot the ball as Denver defense stepped up after Nuggets coach Mike Malone questioned his teams desire and effort in the Game 2 loss. The Heat turned the ball over just once in the first half, but shot under 40% as Jamal Murray led the Nugs with 20 points at the break.
Bam Adebayo and Jimmy Butler kept the Heat in the game as Bam had another big night going for 22 and 17 rebounds, much of that coming in the first half. In the second half the Heat’s inside-out combo went cold as Miami scored just 20 points in the third and Jokic and Christian Braun stretched the Nuggets lead to 21 points.
Braun had 15 points off the bench, nine in the second half and is now one win closer to winning the NCAA title and the NBA title in back-to-back years. Braun’s energy off the bench and the Denver defense was enough keep a double-digit cushion for the rest of the game.
Jokic shrugs off Finals record
Jokic and Murray continued to pour it on in the fourth quarter, as both of them registered triple-doubles on nights in which they both scored 30+ points. Murray led all scorers with 34, 10 and 10 while Jokic posted his 10th postseason triple-double, going for 32, 21 and 11 becoming the first player in the history of the league to get 30, 20 and 10 in an NBA Finals game.
When sideline reporter Lisa Salters asked Jokic about what it means to stand alone in the NBA history books, he very candidly told her “not much.” He is a superstar that is much more focused on winning than individual accolades and now he will shift his focus on taking Game 4 in Miami on Friday night.
Murray led the way for the Nuggets, scoring 34 points and registering his first Finals triple double with 34, 10 and 10. How are you supposed to beat a team that has two guys post 30 point triple doubles?
Big men should not be able to move like this, score like this, and dribble like this. But that's why Jokic might go down as one of the most dominant players to ever play the game. He ended the night with 32 points, 21 rebounds and 10 assists in his 10th triple double performance of this playoff run.
Here is a bit of history for you. Jokic is the first player to ever record a 30, 20, 10 triple double in the Finals. Only Wilt Chamberlain and Kareem Abdul-Jabaar have ever done it in the playoffs, and they did it once. Joker has three under his belt already.
Christian Braun has the rare opportunity to win a national championship and an NBA championship in back to back years. It's a little to early to start researching who else is on that list, but I will be posting an article about it in the coming days.
Braun had 9 points after the break, and helped the Nuggets lead stretch out to as many as 21 in the third quarter.
Jokic is shooting almost 50% from three point range in the playoffs, and if your the unlucky defender who draws the assignment, what are you supposed to do? You can lay off him or he'll stick the three. You can pressure him because he'll take you off the dribble and you can't double team him because he'll find the open man.
Let's not forget about Jamal Murray's ability to dish the rock. He had 10 assist for the second straight game on way to his first Finals triple-double.
The Heat threw everything they could at the Nuggets and Jokic, but the Joker had the zone that tripped them up in Game 2 figured out in Game 3.
Aaron Gordon is doing all the little things that help teams win championships. He's defending Jimmy Butler, he's rebounding the basketball, he's taking advantage of mismatches, and he'll even run the break sometimes. He had 11, 10 and 5 assists in the Game 3 win on Wednesday night.
Murray ended the half with 20 points on 8/13 shooting as the Nuggets took the lead going into half and wouldn't let it go.
The combo of Murray and Jokic was too much to handle for the Miami defense who got the best of the Denver duo in Game 2.
Murray scored 20 in the first half and this was a big bucket to quiet the crowd down after Caleb Martin scored eight straight points for the Heat.
Christian Braun had the best playoff game of his young career scoring 15 off the bench and had some big buckets in the third quarter when the Nuggets took control of the game.
The was talk of Miami having figured out Jokic after the loss, but the Serbian responded with a record setting performance in Game 3, doing something that no player in NBA history has done before.
We saw Jokic play distributor in Game 1, scorer in Game 2 and in Game 3 he did a little bit of everything.
Jamal Murray had a decent Game 2, but after posting 18 points and not dominating like he usually does he made sure he made his impact felt from the start of Game 3.
IT'S ALL OVER!!! THE NUGGETS PUNCH BACK TO TAKE THE SERIES LEAD ON THE ROAD AS MURRAY AND JOKIC POSTED 30 POINT TRIPLE DOUBLES.
Murray goes back to the line and hits both FTs to finish his night with 34!
Murray to the line and he hits both after the foul on Martin.
KCP to the line after the foul on Highsmith and he hits both FTs.
Roninson drops another three ball and hang on just a minute! Its a 9 point game with over a minute to go.
Murray to the line after the timeout and he hits both FTs after the foul on Adebayo.
Denver takes a timeout with 1:32 to go to in the fourth quarter.
Robinson drills the three ball, but that came a little too late in the game.
Adebayo back at the line after the Jokic foul and he hits both FTs with 2:00 to go in the fourth.
Butler at the line and he hits both after the foul on Murray.
Murray goes high off the glass and he's got 28 on the night!
Adebayo at the line after the foul on Jokic and he hits one of two FTs with 3:24 to go in the fourth.
Jokic with the pump fake, piroette and fade away in the lane. He's got 32 and counting.
Lowry was left an open lane to the rim and he gets the lay up to go.
KCP to the line after the foul on Butler and he hits both FTs.
Vincent goes high off the glass on the drive from the right side.
Murray takes the air out of the Kaseya Center, not for the first time and that assist means Jokic just registered his 10th triple double of the post season.
Lowry picked the pocket of Murray and that leads to a Martin lay up on the break.
Adebayo extending the play with a couple offensive boards and that leads to a follow up floater and a Nuggets timeout with 6:35 to go in the fourth quarter!
Lowry drills a three ball out of the timeout and the Heat need to see a few more of those go down.
Braun goes right at Butler in transition and gets the floater in the paint to fall!
Timeout Heat with 8:28 to go in the fourth quarter!
Braun got open down low and he gets the bucket AND 1!!! FT is good and he's got 13 off the bench!
Lowry was double teamed but still got the floater to go off the glass.
Jokic going to the line after the foul on Butler and he hits both FTs. That's 30, 20 and 9 assists for the Serbian in Game 3.
Jokic with another jumper in the paint and he's got 28 points, 19 and 9 assists.
Murray sticks the pull up jumper from the elbow and he's got 24 on the night.
Adebayo to the line after the foul on Brown and he hits both FTs. He's got 17 and 10 tonight.
We are headed to the fourth quarter, and the Nuggets took command out of the break, going on a 6-0 run to start the third extending the lead out to double digits and the cushion has been that large since then.
Jokic and Braun led the Nuggets as the Heat were held to just 20 points in the third.
Butler hits the baseline push shot to bring the third quarter to an end.
Robinson hits a three ball and the Heat could use another late scoring surge from their sharp shooter!
Braun with the steal and the slam in transition! He's got 10 points off the bench!
Braun slashing down the lane and Jokic found him for the lay up.
Butler to the line after the foul on Braun and he hits one of two FTs.
KCP pulls up from the elbow and this crowd is dead silent here in Miami!
Timeout Heat with under 2:00 to go in the third quarter.
Braun with the pump fake under the basket and finishes around three defenders.
Butler pulls up and hits the short range baseline jumper as the Heat look to cut into this lead before the fourth quarter starts.
Jokic at the line after the foul on Lowry and he hits one of two FTs.
Jokic answers right back with a three ball of his own and that brings a hush over this Kaseya crowd yet again!
Butler drills a pull up three ball to put some life into this building.
Three offensive boards leads to a tip in from Gordon and the size is on display there for Denver.
Gordon to the line after the foul on Love and he hits one of two FTs.
Jokic working back down low and gets the lay in to go after taking advantage of the mismatch on Love.
Love strokes a much need three ball off the Butler kick out!
Murray on the follow up off his own rebound and he gets the put back to fall.
Jokic drills the spot up mid ranger and get the roll.
Adebayo with the mid range jumper from the FT line.
Jokic on the jump hook off the Murray dish to stop the mini Miami run.
Butler running the break after Strus comes up with the steal and he finishes with the lay up in transition.
Butler comes out of the timeout and gets to the rack for a lay up.
Murray dumps it off from Gordon for the two handed jam and that's a 6-0 run for the Nuggets who take a double digit lead for the first time tonight.
Timeout Miami with 9:47 to go in the third quarter.
Jokic lobs it up off the dribble and Gordon was there for the tip in on the alley oop.
Jokic opens up the third with a mid range jumper off the catch and shoot from Gordon.
WE ARE BACK IN PLAY FOR THE SECOND HALF OF ACTION FROM MIAMI!!!
Aaron Gordon is going to play a big role in this series, with his versatility, speed and strength, but he's got just four points tonight, and has had his offensive production limited in the first half.
Bam has been roaming free on the offensive end tonight. He's got 13 points and 10 rebounds for a first half double double.
Murray silenced the Miami crowd after Martin's scoring streak and it's been Murray early and often from South Beach in Game 3.
Martin had a streaks of 8 straight points for the Heat to take the lead from the Nuggets mid way through the second quarter.
Jokic was held to just 4 assists in Game 2, Mike Malone and the Nuggets made sure that wasn't going to be the case in this game tonight.
Bam looks in the mood tonight. He has been on target from the field in this series as Jokic struggles with his quickness and everyone else struggles with his size and strength.
Butler has been slow out of the gate in the first two games of this series but back at home he back to his best.
Jokic and Murray took 16 of the first 23 shots for the Nuggets in the first quarter as both got off to quick scoring starts.
The Game 2 hero didn't waste any time getting going, but got himself into foul trouble with 3 quick ones in the second quarter.
Those two Jokic FTs stretched the lead out to the largest it's been for any team. Jamal Murray started hot and hasn't cooled down since. He's got 20 heading into half while Jokic is nearing another triple double with 14, 12 and 7 assists. Most of the Nuggets points have come from the paint as they look to take advantage of their size mismatches.
Butler has 14 while Adebayo has 13 and 10 heading to the halftime break. Miami are shooting less than 40% but have turned the ball over just once.
WE ARE HEADED TO HALFTIME FROM MIAMI WITH THE NUGGETS UP BY FIVE!!
Jokic back to the line after Martin pushed him in the back on the rebound attempt, and he hits both FTs. He's got 14, 12 and 7 assists already.
Adebayo to the line after the foul on Jokic, and he hits both FTs after Jokic picks up his second.
Gordon goes coast to coast after seeing the seas part down the lane and he throws it down with the two handed jam!
Murray on the drive from the left and lays it up with the right! He's got 20 in the half!
Butler penetrates into the paint and hits the floater over Jokic.
Vincent just picked up his third foul after running into Gordon while chasing after a loose ball. He goes back to the bench as Gordon misses both FTs.
Jokic at the line after the foul on Lowry and he hits both FTs.
Jokic kicks it out and hits Murray who drills the three and he's got 18 in the first half!!!
Adebayo follows up the miss from Martin with the tip slam!!
Murray at the line after the foul on Stus and he hits one of two FTs.
Strus drills the open three ball after the extra pass from Butler and that's his first three after hitting four in the first quarter of Game 1!
Butler pulls up from the FT line and drills the mid range jumper. He's got 12 on the night.
Hand off from Jokic for Murray at the top of the key and he drills the spot up three ball! That's 14 for the Nuggets PG.
Timeout Miami with 5:36 to go in the second quarter.
Brown at the line after the foul on Martin and he hits both FTs.
Murray quiets the crowd down with a three ball to let the air out of Kaseya Center!
Martin driving to the bucket and hangs it high off the glass! He's got the last eight MIami points!
Martin answers back with another three ball off the kick out from Adebayo!!!
Braun with another jam off another dish from Jokic!
Extra pass from Lowry to the corner for Martin and he strings the three ball!
Jokic anchoring the offense again, and found Braun slashing down the baseline for the jam.
Vincent just called with back to back fouls out of the timeout, and he heads to the bench with two.
Adebayo had Brown on him, and took advantage of the mismatch by taking him into the paint and hitting the jumper over Brown.
Timeout Nuggets early in the second quarter after a Heat run has tied the game at 29.
Martin driving baseline and laid it off to a wide open Adebayo for the jam!
Adebayo gets sent to the line by the foul on Green and he hits one of two FTs.
Green taking his big body and bullying Lowry to the bucket and gets the finish off the glass.
Brown starts the second quarter with the first three of the Nuggets night after Aaron Gordon ran the break and hit him on the wing.
It was a busy first quarter for Jamal Murray and Jimmy Butler. Murray came out of the gate with 8 quick points, but Butler got going and finished the quarter with 10. Jokic has 10 and 7 rebounds already to go along with his three assists as Murray and the Serbian have taken 16 of the 23 field goals after 12 minutes.
Lowry drops the turnaround fade away from the FT line to tie up the game and that's how we will go to the second quarter.
Green slashes to the rack and banks home the lay in.
Butler slithers to the baseline and hits the push shot from just outside the lane. He's got an early 10 points.
Butler stops on a dime, turns and hits the fader from the FT line.
Jokic was swarmed by defenders in the paint but hit the short jumper off the pump fake.
Butler backing down Murray and takes it off the glass out of the timeout.
Timeout Nuggets with 2:54 to go in the first quarter.
Jokic on the perimeter and he finds Gordon on the entry pass for the bucket down low.
Jokic felt the mismatch with Love on his back, and put up the turn around jump hook in the paint.
Brown fouls Vincent behind the FT line, and we saw the Nuggets do that a couple times in Game 2. Vincents hits two of three at the line.
Murray dumped it off to Jokic who hit the one footed floater from inside the FT line.
Jokic gets the roll off the front of the iron with the short jumper in the paint out of the timeout.
Miami take the first timeout of the game with 6:24 to go in the first quarter. Back and forth we go after a quick start from Murray.
Porter Jr. breaking through defenders in the paint and finishes with the runner after taking some contact.
Butler to the line after the foul on KCP and he hits both FTs.
Murray getting back to the iron of the dribble and he gets it to fall. That's 8 early points for Murray.
Vincent drills a three ball off the dish from Strus and the hero of Game 2 is on the board early.
Murray pulls up from the baseline and he's got three quick field goals to start his night.
Jokic on the block and he wiggles his way to the iron for a lay in off the glass.
Butler with a strong drive and he gets the lay up to go.
Murray drops the floater, and he's got four quick points out of the gate.
Adebayon with a couple quick buckets as he gets the FT line jumper to go.
Murray with a strong drive to the open his account. He had 0 points in the first quarter of Game 2, and will want to get off to a quicker start tonight.
Love jacks a three ball to get his night going after getting his second straight start. He's in the game for his defense but he can knock a shot or two down.
Adebayo starts the game with a tough reverse lay up off the pick and roll with Strus.
GAME 3 OF THE NBA FINALS IS UNDERWAY FROM MIAMI!!!
No need to panic if you are Mike Malone and the Denver Nuggets. They lost one game at home, but they won't got shaking up the system. He is going with the same starting five he's had for virtually all playoffs on the road in Game 3 as they look to take back home court advantage.
Heat's first five
Eric Spoelstra is going back to his veteran Kevin Love for Game 3 after he helped set the tone on the defensive end on Sunday night. Strus and Vincent came out hot to start last game, who will it be leading them out of the gate tonight? Jimmy Butler has yet to get off to a quick start in this series and back in Miami, you wouldn't bet against him.
The Miami Heat proved a lot of things in Sundays win in Denver, but maybe the biggest point they proved was that the Nuggets aren’t invincible at home. They were previously 9-0 before the Heat downed them in Ball Arena, and as comforting of a win as it was they should be just as weary because they have a pretty good home record themselves, but have lost their last two. They are 7-2 at Kaseya Center but both loses came to the Celtics in Game 4 and Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals.
For as good as the Nuggets have been at home their record on the road is less impressive. They are 4-3 on the road having lost Game 4 in Minnesota, Game’s 3 and 4 in Phoenix, but then closed the Lakers out in a 4 game sweep in the WCF. It’s early in the series, but this is the first time the Nuggets have faced adversity in the playoffs. How will a team making it’s playoff debut fair under the spotlight in South Beach?
Tyler Herro has been ruled out for Game 3 tonight in Miami. He broke his hand in Game 1 of the opening round again the Milwaukee Bucks and has not dressed since having surgery to repair the third and fourth metatarsal in his shooting hand. He was originally ruled out for 4-6 weeks, but we are past week 7 and Herro is still in the recovery process. He returned to full contact practice on Tuesday, but has not been given the green light from the medical staff and will sit out another nigh. Reports out of South Beach back in the Conference Finals claimed Herro and the Heat were targeting a Game 3 comeback, but he will be on the sidelines as the Heat try to take the series lead.
Slowing the Joker
We have all seen it. We all know it. Stopping Nikola Jokic is impossible. If you double or triple team him he finds the open man for an easy bucket like he did in Game 1. If you lay off of him, he will pick you apart in the paint like he did in Game 2. Stopping Jokic might be impossible, but stopping the Nuggets isn't. Eric Spoelstra went big to start the game, went to a zone late in the game, and maybe most importantly he made sure Jokic didn’t kill Miami by getting everyone else involved.
They may have conceded a 40 point night to the Serbian, but Jamal Murray was the next leading scorer with 16 on a night in which Jokic dished just four assists. After the Game 2 loss, the Nuggets are now 0-3 when the Joker scores 40 or more points in the playoffs. Jokic has dished out less than five assists just four times this year, and in those four games the Nuggets are also winless. It may or may not have been a strategy of the Heat to keep Jokic over 40 ad under 4 assists, but Eric Spoelstra dismissed the idea entirely after Miami’s Game 2 win.
Denver’s mismatches in Miami
The Denver Nuggets are a mismatch nightmare for just about every team in the league. They are long, they are strong and they have the ability to beat you up and wear you down. Aaron Gordon exploited the Heat in the opening game of the Finals, scoring 12 first quarter points while beating up the smaller Heat starting five. Between him, Michael Porter Jr. and Jamal Murray they have a massive advantage when it comes to length and strength, but they couldn’t capitalize on that in Game 2. Tonight look for Mike Malone to try to get back to using those size mismatches to his advantage if the Nuggets are going to win Game 3 on the road.
Playoff Jimmy back in 305
Jimmy Butler showed up when the Heat needed him most. It took him a while to get going on Sunday in Denver, but the rest of the team carried him until crunch time and with the game on the line you knew that Playoff Jimmy would show up. He had 8 of his 21 points in the final quarter and blanketed Jamal Murray on D during the final play of the game. He has yet to have that vintage Playoff Jimmy in the Finals, but the Nuggets have to believe the clock is ticking until we see Butler give another memorable playoff performance.
Game 2 recap
There weren’t many who gave the Heat a fighting chance against the Nuggets in Game 2 from Denver. After seeing Miami get manhandled in the series opener, people were ready to crown Nikola Jokic and Co. champions of the NBA. Eric Spoelstra made some major tweaks to the game plan that helped the Heat hand the Nuggets their first home loss in the playoffs. Gabe Vincent stepped up and led the Heat to victory scoring 23 points, and the Heat shot nearly 50% from behind the three point line.
Nikola Jokic dropped 41 points, but he was limited to just four assists which threw the Nuggets out of rhythm. Jamal Murray and the rest of the Nuggets never found their flow on the offensive end. Miami lost a double digit first quarter lead, and wouldn’t regain it until the fourth quarter, but once they regained the advantage thanks to a brilliant 8-0 run from Duncan Robinson to start the final 12 minutes. It was Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo who sealed the Game 2 win as each posted 21 points to even the series.
We are live from South Beach
Hello everyone and welcome to Date County where the Miami Heat return to Kaseya Center hoping to defend their home court after stealing a win in Denver. Miami defied the odds by beating the Nuggets, but it should come as no surprise at this point of the regular season. The last team to make the playoffs in the Eastern Conference has pulled off shock after shock in this run to the NBA Finals and if they can get a win tonight, then the rest of the world might just start to think that lifting the Larry O’Brien Trophy is a possibility. The Denver Nuggets face their first bit of adversity they have had to confront in the entire postseason. It has been smooth sailing up until now, but now it’s time to see how this team, that is making their debut in the Finals, responds under pressure.
Nuggets vs. Heat Game 3
The NBA Finals are even at a game a piece heading into Game 3 in South Beach after the Miami Heat stole home court advantage from the Denver Nuggets on Sunday night. The eight seeded Heat return home tonight with a chance take control of the series and AS English will be with you all night providing live coverage, stats, highlights and analysis of tonight’s matchup from Kaseya Center.