The Denver Nuggets revalidated this Friday the victory of last Wednesday in the field of the Miami Heat and his victory for 108-95 at the Kaseya Center gave them the upper hand 3-1 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 in their 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 of 27 points (11 of 15 on shots)6 rebounds and 6 assists, and by the Serbian Nikola Jokic, who signed a double double of 23 points and 12 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 when Jamal Murray did not shinewith 15 points and a modest 5 of 17 shooting, the Nuggets could count on their wardrobe and the brilliant contribution of Bruce Brown (21 points and 3 triples).
In the Heat, Jimmy Butler was the best scorer with 25 points, 7 rebounds and 7 assists and Bam Adebayo contributed a double double of 20 points and 11 rebounds. Coming off the bench, Kyle Lowry chipped in thirteen, Duncan Robinson chipped in twelve, and Caleb Martin chipped in eleven.
The Heat, with their heads held high
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 fell with honor against a solid, determined and superior 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 badly 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 three-pointer from Butler at the buzzer that culminated a 10-2 run to take a 21-20 lead. However, Aaron Gordon, with 15 points in the second quarter and 7 of 8 shooting, and Jokic, who returned with a monumental three-pointer and signed 10 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.
Jokic and Gordon, intractable
It was an illusion for Miami. Denver hit the table in the third period 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 9 points and reached 25 (9 of 13 shooting), 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.
Pride in the Heat… and little faith in the public
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 they also forced Jokic’s fifth personal foul with 9.24 on the clock. Adebayo brought the crowd to their feet with a wonderful block shot off Murray and the Heat gave themselves a chance. But the Nuggets, even with Jokic on the bench, kept responding. 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 franchise history, which is now just one win away. This Monday, in Denver, may be history day.