MIAMI (Reuters) —Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray made history on Wednesday night — and have the Denver Nuggets two wins away from making some more history as well.
Jokic and Murray became the first teammates to both record triple-doubles in the NBA Finals, and the Nuggets reclaimed the lead in the series by beating the Miami Heat 109-94 in Game 3.
“By far, their greatest performance as a duo in their seven years together,” Nuggets coach Michael Malone said, after his team moved two wins away from Denver’s first title.
Jokic finished with 32 points, 21 rebounds and 10 assists — the first such game in NBA Finals history, or at least the first since assists were tracked. Murray had 34 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists, getting the rebound he needed with 9 seconds remaining.
The Nuggets out-rebounded the Heat 58-33, and took a 2-1 lead. Game 4 is on Friday in Miami.
“I’m just glad that we won the game,” Jokic said. “It was a big one for us because they won in our arena. We just didn’t want to go down 2-1.”
Jimmy Butler scored 28 points for Miami, and Bam Adebayo finished with 22 points and 17 rebounds. Caleb Martin added 10 points.
“We’ve got to come out with more energy and effort and that’s correctable,” Butler said. “That’s on us as a group.”
Jokic and Murray combined for 24 field goals; Miami had 34. Jokic and Murray combined for 31 rebounds; Miami had 33. Jokic and Murray combined for 20 assists; Miami had exactly that many.
Somehow, some way, the Heat know they need to find an answer before Friday.
“It’s not an easy task to do,” Butler said. “But if we want to win, we’re going to have to figure it out.”
Miami has been the comeback kings of these playoffs — seven rallies in games after trailing by at least 12 points. The Heat were down by 14 going into the fourth, and Malone reminded his club of Miami’s penchant for comebacks.
The lead eventually reached 21, the outcome never seriously in doubt, and Jokic looking very much like he’s back in cruise control. The Heat got within nine on a 3-pointer by Duncan Robinson with 1:22 left, but there was no epic finish for Miami. Murray and Jokic had the Nuggets too far ahead to get caught.