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Wednesday night in the 2023 NBA Playoffs saw NBA history made as Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray became the first pair of teammates to have a 30-point triple-double in the same game. The Denver Nuggets soundly defeated the Miami Heat 109-94 in Game 3 to take a 2-1 series lead.
Denver’s Historic Two-Man Show
The Nuggets were minus-9 in turnovers and had 18 fewer points off 3-point shots than the Heat again, but they still won easily by 15 points thanks to their unstoppable two-man duo of Jokic and Murray.
After missing the game-tying 3 to end Game 2, Murray came out hot and scored 8 points at the start of the game for Denver. Jokic also turned in a fantastic first quarter with 10 points, 7 rebounds, and 3 assists.
Denver still got very little out of the supporting cast as Michael Porter Jr. scored just 2 points on 1-of-7 shooting in 21 minutes. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope was once again held to 6 points, and Denver only shot 5-of-18 from 3-point range.
But the Nuggets relied heavily on their stars with Jokic playing 43:44 and Murray playing 44:35. By the end of the game, history was made. Jokic had 32 points, 21 rebounds, and 10 assists, the first 30-20-10 game in NBA Finals history. Thanks to a rebound on the final play of the game, Murray finished with 34 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists, joining Jokic as the only pair of teammates to ever have 30-point triple-doubles in the same game (regular season or postseason).
While the Nuggets still have not scored 110 points in any game this series, they have shot over 50% from the field in each game. When Jokic and Murray are clicking like this, Miami does not stand much of a chance.
Disappointing Home Return for Miami
The Heat were 7-2 ATS this season as a home underdog, but you better make that 7-3 now after a bad 15-point loss. The first half was quite close with a 24-24 first quarter, and Denver only led by 5 points at halftime.
But the third quarter saw the Nuggets open up a 19-point lead. First, it was Jokic taking over as a scorer again, then it was Christian Braun off the bench with a surprising 15-point night to compensate for some of those lower-scoring starters.
The Heat got 28 points from Jimmy Butler, but he needed 24 shots to do so as he just has not looked dominant since early in the Boston series. Without Butler dominating, the Heat returned to some of their bad looks from the Game 1 loss. Bam Adebayo had 22 points on 21 shots, the same type of inefficiency he had in Game 1. Max Strus shot 1-for-7 from the field again. Gabe Vincent finally regressed, falling back to Earth with 7 points on 2-for-10 shooting. At least Caleb Martin had a little 8-point scoring explosion at one point to reach 10 points, but he has not been the same player in this series that he was against Boston.
Miami never got closer than 10 points in the fourth quarter, and even that happened in the final 2:00 with the game out of reach. Like Game 1, the Nuggets were ruthlessly efficient in the second half and made the game feel like a mismatch. This is bad news for Miami when its only win so far has been a 15-point comeback in Game 2 when it also shot lights out in the fourth quarter.
The Heat will attempt to even the series again in Game 4 this Friday evening.
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