Denver Nuggets won Game 3 of their Western Conference Finals series against the Lakers tonight, 114-106. The hero of the Nuggets’ success is Jamal Murray, who had the leading role in the critical moments of the final period.
With the Lakers being on a huge run, Murray took over the responsibility and responded with two huge threes in the game-defining moments of the clash. Along with a big dime to Paul Millsap, the Nuggets young star, these situations decided tonight’s matchup.
“I truly believe Jamal is a superstar,” stated Nikola Jokic after the game.
Murray had 28 points, 12 dimes, and 8 rebounds while shooting 10-for-17 from the field. His second three, the one that took the Nuggets to 111-99, was from some 30 feet, and happened to be his fourth of the game.
Denver had a 20-point lead with 1:24 inside the last period, but instead of keeping things under control, they allowed the Lakers to make a massive rally and cut their lead to just three points, 99-96. In those moments, Murray took over the wheel and started hurting the LAL defense, which previously forced him and his teammates to make some ridiculous mistakes.
“We feel that we should be up 2-1 right now, to be honest,” Murray stated. “So we’re just going to move on to Game 4.”
On the other side, the Lakers had LeBron James, who posted a triple-double with 30 points, 11 assists, and 10 rebounds, with two steals and blocks. King James was all over the court and was superb on both ends, but lacked support.
“I give credit where credit is due. Denver came in and played exceptionally well… we have to be better in Game 4,” he said.
The Lakers were terrible on the glass having just 25 boards and allowing 44 on the other end. That is mostly due to Anthony Davis’ poor performance in that area. AD did score 27 points but had just 2 rebounds in 43 minutes.
“I have to do a better job on the glass personally. I can’t have two rebounds for the entire game.” All-NBA first-team center stated.
Apart from these two guys, the purple and gold had Kentavious Caldwell-Pope with 12 points, and Kyle Kuzma with 11.
On the other side, Jokic had 22 with 10 rebounds and five assists, 9-for-14 from the field. But the guy who was an x-factor in this event was Jerami Grant. The former Thunder forward scored 26 points, 7-for-11 and 10-for-12 from the free-throw line.
"We'd be down 3-0."
— Joel Rush (@JoelRushNBA) September 23, 2020
“Jerami was spectacular. 26 points, he got to the foul line 12 times, made 10, had really good defensive possessions guarding some of the best players in the world,” head coach Malone said at the press conference.
Monte Morris scored 14 in 20 minutes off the bench, and Michael Porter Jr. had 9 with six rebounds.
Denver was superb 54.8% from the field, with 26 assists and 11 threes in 29 attempts. If it weren’t for that massive slowdown in the last period, these stats would be even more impressive.
Still, the Nuggets posted their first win of the series, bouncing back after opening two losses. We already saw them coming back from 3-1 twice during these playoffs, and we can just guess what is their mindset at this point. On the other side, the Lakers need to answer; otherwise, the swing created with Anthony Davis’ game-winning thee will disappear. Also, the additional dose of pressure will appear, and just remember how that influenced on Clippers in the previous round
The next contest, Game 4 is scheduled for Thursday night, at 9 pm ET.
Nikola Velickovic is a sports journalist who loves to write and read on all sports. Nikola contributes both news updates and functions as a sports breaking news writer at WagerBop.