NBA Finals: 3 takeaways from Game 3 as Nuggets reclaim home court advantage

Jokic and Murray slammed 30+ points each as the Nuggets pulled 2-1 ahead in the series with a 109-94 victory in game three.

Published : Jun 08, 2023 12:15 IST , CHENNAI - 3 MINS READ

Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic recorded triple doubles in Nuggets’ game three win.
Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic recorded triple doubles in Nuggets’ game three win. | Photo Credit: AFP

Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic recorded triple doubles in Nuggets’ game three win. | Photo Credit: AFP

Denver Nuggets stomped its might with a 109-94 road win against Miami Heat in the NBA Finals on Wednesday.

With it, the Nuggets snatched their home court advantage back which they had conceded after the game two loss three days back.

Nikola Jokic shattered multiple records on the night. The most notable of all — becoming the first player to record 30+ points, 20+ rebounds and 10+ assists in the Finals.

His assisting flair that he had supposedly been robbed off in the second game, was at full flow on Wednesday as the Nuggets pulled within two games of their maiden NBA title.

Jamal Murray also recorded a triple-double, with him and Jokic becoming the first duo to notch triple doubles in a Finals game.

The Nuggets pair constructed the win for their side.


For all the talk about Miami Heat’s zone defense after game two, the system seemed to evaporate into thin air in game three.

It was the tried and tested Murray-Jokic pick-and-roll that coach Michael Malone deemed best fit for the match. And the duo came out all guns blazing.

Murray thrived in his role of controlling plays. Jokic was content setting screens. The results were collapsed defence, wide-open looks, 32 points for Jokic and 34 for Murray. 10 assists for both was the cherry on top.

With Jokic and Murray effectively drawing two Heat defenders out with their pick-and-roll, the other Nuggets players too had a ball under the rim. Aaron Gordon used his size. Christian Braun made back lane cuts.


The Heat’s three-point shooting was not at its best. It wasn’t as bad as the opening game, either. But you expect more than 11 off 35 from the Heat. The double whammy was the abysmal shooting from close range.

The Heat were outscored 60 to 34 from the paint.

The shooting from five-feet or less was particularly in focus today. The Heat average an efficiency of 62% in this year’s playoffs. Against the Nuugets in Game 3, that dove off a cliff to 39%.

In the remaining distance in the paint - five to 15 feet - the Heat shot at 33% as against their 42% average for the playoffs.

Bam Adebayo is the poacher from this zone, shooting at 63%. In the first two games, he was seven of 12 from this range. On Wednesday, it dropped to four of 10.

Similarly, for Jimmy Butler, the shooting from five feet or less plummeted from 56% in the playoffs to 36% in game three.


The one downside for the Nuggets in today’s win was Michael Porter Jr’s shooting. A problem which, to be fair, has been staring at coach Malone in the face for quite some time.

Porter has now made just three three-pointers out of the 19 he has attempted against the Heat. He has followed up his 14-point performance in Game 1 with two and five points in Games 2 and 3, respectively.

There is most certainly a decision to be made. Does he stay in the lineup or comes out off the bench. Braun’s jaw-dropping 15 points make a case for his selection. Bruce Brown too offers himself handy in offense.

Whether they warrant a chance in the starting five or not remains a call for Malone to take.

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