Matt Brooks
Writer & Digital Content Specialist

Two more wins.

The Denver Nuggets took down the Miami HEAT, 109-94, on the road to take a 2-1 series lead in the NBA Finals and reclaim homecourt advantage. Denver has improved to 5-3 on the road, whereas Miami is now 6-3 at home.

Nikola Jokić and Jamal Murray made history as the first pair of teammates to both record 30-point triple-doubles in an NBA Finals game. Murray and Jokić put up the same amount of points as Miami's entire starting lineup with 66 in total.

Jokić filled up the box score with an astronomical stat line: 32 points, 21 rebounds, and 10 assists. He became the first player to ever drop 30+ points, 20+ rebounds, and 10+ assists in a Finals game. This was his 10th triple-double of the postseason.

Murray, meanwhile, finished with 34 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists. Murray has reached at least 10 assists in all three games of the Finals.

Christian Braun was an excellent spark off the bench with 15 points on 7-of-8 shooting. His cutting was excellent, particularly next to Jokić against Miami's zone defense, and he ripped away a steal from Jimmy Butler for a dunk on the other end to give Denver a major energy boost in the second half.

Butler finished with 28 points but did so on an iffy 11-of-24 shooting line. Bam Adebayo had his first poor shooting night of the series and finished with 22 points on 7-of-21 shooting. He did, however, grab 17 boards.

Speaking of rebounding, Denver pounded Miami on the glass, 58-33. This made up for the fact that Miami did an excellent job of taking care of the basketball by only turning it over 4 total times.

Miami had a brutal night shooting from distance, which certainly helped the Nuggets. The HEAT went just 31.4 percent from behind the arc after shooting a blistering 49 percent in Game 2. Denver did a much better job of sticking to Miami's shooters and mitigating mistakes, even if this meant conceding buckets to Butler.

Denver didn't have a great night shooting the long ball either, going just 27.8 percent on only 18 total attempts. They made up the difference with ridiculous two-point scoring; Denver connected on 58 percent of their shots inside the arc, and they've shot better than 58 percent from two-point range in all three games of the series.

Murray and Jokić were cooking early, combining for 18 points by the end of the first. The HEAT could not make any of their three-pointers, going just 28.6 from deep in the quarter. Butler led the dance for Miami and put up 10 points in the first quarter, and both teams entered the second quarter knotted up at 24 apiece. 

Adebayo started finding his rhythm in the second quarter and got his total up to 9 points after a sluggish 2-for-7 start. Murray made two three-pointers for Denver. His second three-pointer brought him to 14 points and forced Miami to call a timeout just after the halfway point in the quarter. Murray reached the 20-point mark, Jokić racked up 14 points and 12 rebounds, and the Nuggets entered halftime ahead, 53-48. 

Denver opened the third quarter on a 6-0 run to build the first double-digit lead of the game. Jokić turned on the jets and dropped home 12 points to turn it into a 14-point game. It became a 16-point game when Braun cut baseline for a bucket at the cup and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope splashed a midrange jumper out of the pick-and-roll with Jokić, forcing Miami to take another timeout. Braun hit a layup after cutting into Miami’s zone defense and then picked off a pass from Butler for a dunk, and Denver entered the fourth quarter with a 82-68 lead. 

Braun kept pouring it in and reached 15 total points, highlighted by a huge finish over Butler in transition. This made it a 21-point game. Miami wouldn’t go away and went on a 7-0 run to chip away at that lead. Murray would not let his team cough up the advantage and pitched in 12 total points in the quarter, and Denver crossed the finish line with a 2-1 lead in the NBA Finals.