By Johnny Askounis/ email@example.com
Down 2-0 in the Western Conference finals best-of-seven series, the Denver Nuggets overcame a furious Los Angeles Lakers rally to prevail Tuesday. A couple of late threes by Jamal Murray prevented the Lakers from completing the comeback.
“Jamal made some really big shots at the end of the game and that’s why we won,” confirmed Nikola Jokic after Game 3, “I really believe in him. He can make the big shots. I truly believe he’s a superstar and a very big part of this team. He carried us today. I am very glad that he’s my teammate.”
Murray, 23, went for 28 points, a new personal-best in the playoffs, 12 assists, and eight rebounds. The Canadian guard drawing motivation from being more consistent offensively averaged 23 points in the two Western Finals losing efforts.
“We had Game 2, I think we played great. We feel like we should be up 2-1 right now,” he said recalling the narrow Game 2 defeat, “The most important part is to bounce back with the right mentality. Those games hurt but it feels better when you bounce back.”
The Lakers nearly put themselves in a 3-0 lead, an advantage remaining unscratched in NBA postseason history. However, the 2-1 lead retains control of the series heading into Thursday’s Game 4.
“When you dig yourself in a hole like that, every shot that they make or we miss, it feels like the game is collapsing,” admitted LeBron James after netting a game-high 30 points, “We played better in the last quarter but those first 36 minutes hurt us obviously.”
“I thought Denver played with great energy throughout the game. We did not match early, we matched it late,” added head coach Frank Vogel, “We were not as sharp as we could have been on both ends of the floor. I liked the spirit that our guys competed with down the stretch to try and make it a game.”
A resilient opponent in the Nuggets capable of overcoming challenging situations got things interesting. They already erased two 3-1 deficits in the Orlando bubble. “We just don’t want to quit. That’s our mentality,” mentioned Jokic.
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