NBA Finals: On Wednesday night, Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray created history, and the Denver Nuggets are now only two victories away from creating some actual history.
The two helped their team defeat the Miami Heat 109-94 in Game Three to retake the series lead, becoming the only teammates in NBA Finals history to register identical triple-doubles.
Jokic recorded the first triple-double in NBA Finals history, or at least the first since assists were kept track of, with 32 points, 21 rebounds, and 10 assists. Murray scored 34 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists in contrast.
Michael Malone, the coach of the Nuggets, could only awe at their genius.
He said, grinning, “By far, their greatest performance as a duo in their seven years together” after the game.”
First duo in NBA history to each record a 30-point triple-double in a game.
Best duo in the league.
— Denver Nuggets (@nuggets) June 8, 2023
Why did they succeed? Miami, though, has been the comeback king of these playoffs, recording seven rallies in games when they had fallen behind by at least 12 points.
They were again down by 14 points going into the fourth quarter and were hoping to get their energy up for a thrilling finish, but Malone had already prepared his team for that.
Hours before a single ball had been swished, he observed, “First two games, they won the fourth quarter. [In Game Three], we win the fourth quarter, and we win the game.”
His team paid attention.
The advantage soon grew to 21, the outcome was never in serious doubt, and Jokic appeared to be back in cruise control. With 1:22 remaining, Duncan Robinson’s three-pointer brought the Heat within nine points, but there was no thrilling Miami comeback because the Nuggets were simply too far ahead to be overtaken.
Erik Spoelstra, the Heat coach, said that “you have to expect there to be elite talent in the finals. And both of those men possess extraordinary skill.”
Jokic is now officially the seventh player to record two triple-doubles within a single finals. LeBron James and Magic Johnson both accomplished it in three finals. Butler, Wilt Chamberlain, Larry Bird, and Draymond Green all had a championship series with two triple-doubles.
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