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Nuggets dominate Heat in Game 3 of 2023 NBA Finals – NBC Chicago

The Miami Heat simply didn’t get an answer for the show from Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray in Game 3 on Wednesday.

Jokic wasted 32 points, 21 rebounds and 10 assists, the first 30-20-10 game in NBA Finals history, as the Nuggets took a 2-1 series lead with a victory from 109-94.

The first quarter was as even as it gets for both teams as it ended 24-24, but it foreshadowed what was to come with Jokic already recording 10 points, seven rebounds and three assists. But while Jokic will naturally be in the headlines, the Heat have also struggled to contain running mate Jamal Murray.

Murray late in the first quarter recorded eight points and three assists en route to finishing the game with his own triple-double: 34 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists.

Miami entered the half trailing 53-48, keeping the state of the game close thanks to Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo hitting double digits. Caleb Martin also had eight points in 16 minutes off the bench after struggling mightily the first two games, but Gabe Vincent couldn’t make an impact of his own due to three sticky fouls against him.

Towards the end of the third quarter, Miami’s engine began to burn out against Jokic and Murray. Denver began pulling production from its role players as the Heat still struggled to get into the game.

Denver took a 21-point lead in the fourth quarter when it went up 93-72, with rookie Christian Braun coming to life at a pivotal moment. Miami made one final push in the closing minutes, but it wasn’t enough.

Butler led Miami with 28 points on 11-for-24 shooting while Adebayo added 22 points and 17 rebounds on 7-for-21 shooting. Vincent went 2-for-10 overall (1-for-6 from deep) for seven points in 32 minutes while Max Strus also struggled, going 1 for 7 overall (1 for 4 from deep) for three points in 24 minutes.

Braun proved to be the difference maker for the Nuggets, contributing 15 of 7 points for 8 shooting from the bench in a game where Michael Porter Jr. had just two points in 21 of 1 minutes for 7 total shooting .

During Braun’s game, Nuggets head coach Michael Malone praised the Kansas product’s mentality and humble work ethic that shone on the big stage.

“It’s a testament to Christian’s confidence,” Malone said. “It shows he’s a winner… he just stayed ready all year… This kid never goes too high or too low. I could just feel the confidence seeping from him.

Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra hailed the elite that Jokic and Murray showed on the night, but also considered Miami’s inability to produce low or stop him in the other sense. Miami allowed 60 runs in the paint to just 34 of its own.

“They just hit us in the paint,” Spoelstra said of Denver’s 60-point performance. “They didn’t even have to shoot three times.”

Denver only went 5 for 18 from deep, good for 27%. Most nights in the NBA today, that usually results in a loss, but Miami did themselves a disservice by going 34 for 92 overall, just 37 percent.

“We have to credit their size, but we proved we can finish in the paint at our best,” Spoelstra said of Miami’s struggles. “Certainly some things we need to point out.”

If the Heat are to improve their chances of winning the series and tie it at 2-2 before returning to Denver on Monday for Game 5, they will need a team effort at home and, once again, nail the bases offensively. while limiting the Nuggets’ opportunities the other way. With the form in which Jokic and Murray are, it will be necessary to stop.

Game 4 is scheduled for Friday, with a tip scheduled for 8:30 p.m. ET.

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NBC Chicago

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