“Now I know what I’m getting from Jamal every night,” Denver coach Michael Malone said. “Last year we knew what we were getting from Nikola, but what kind of game Jamal would have. This is no longer the case.
“We have two superstars in Nikola and Jamal. ”
The Lakers arguably have two of the NBA’s top five players, Anthony Davis and LeBron James, who combined to score 57 points on Tuesday. But it was Murray who upped his crunch in Game 3, orchestrating an 8-0 run that came in the 2:17 final to hand the Lakers their first defeat of the Conference Finals.
LA leads the series 2-1.
Murray nearly matched James, who had a triple-double with 30 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds. The Nuggets guard had 28 points, 12 assists and eight rebounds to help Denver bounce back after losing Game 2 to a crushing 3 beating by Davis.“We played the second game,” Murray said of Sunday’s 105-103 loss. “We played very well in Game 2. We just had a few breakdowns which really hurt us.
“We think we should be ahead 2-1 right now, to be honest. But we will move on to Game 4. ”
The Nuggets overcame a 3-1 deficit in the first and second rounds of these playoffs, against the Utah Jazz and the LA Clippers, respectively. But it was the first time the Nuggets started a 0-2 streak in the last two playoffs.
Jerami Grant (26 points) and Monte Morris (14 points) helped the Nuggets take a 97-77 lead with 10:36 left on Tuesday.
“I had no doubt we were going to show up tonight,” said Malone. “The reason I had no doubts was because we won six straight playoff games. Everyone always makes us pack our bags and go, but we’re not ready to go. For some reason, we love this bubble. ”
Murray, however, loves shooting during a crisis in the bubble. After the Lakers ran 22-6 to cut the deficit to four, Murray responded with a 26-foot-3, the pass to Millsap and then the 29-foot dagger.
The Guard now has eight 3-point clutch times in the playoffs, the second most in a single playoff game in the past 20 years behind just Stephen Curry’s nine (2016), according to ESPN Stats and Information Research.
“He’s made for the big shots,” said Jokic, who had 22 points, 10 rebounds and five assists in Game 3. “I really, really believe he’s a superstar. ”
The Lakers could have the best brace in the league. But Malone believes he has a superstar combo as well, a duo that even looks for this streak in Game 4.
“It gives us a lot more confidence in this series,” said Malone. “By letting them know we’re here, we’re here for the long haul. “