(CTN News) – In Game 3 of the Miami Heat NBA Finals, the Denver Nuggets put on a rebounding clinic midway through the third quarter.
Aaron Gordon grabbed the ball after Miami Heat Max Strus missed, then Michael Porter Jr. after Jamal Murray failed a 3-pointer. The score remained close for the rest of the game as Porter rebounded off a block and Gordon put it back in when Porter missed.
They played their own version of shoot until you make it – and it demonstrated the Nuggets were too big, too strong and too tough on the inside for the Miami Heat in a 109-94 victory on Wednesday night, which gave them a 2-1 lead in the series and a step toward the first championship in franchise history.
In addition to his triple-double, Murray had 10 rebounds. It’s sometimes a matter of effort. There are times when the ball just comes to you. It is not uncommon for someone else to do the dirty work and box out the big guy. The rebounds are all a result of everyone chipping in.”
The Denver Nuggets outrebounded Miami 65-41, and outscored Miami Heat 60-34 in the paint. A triple-double by Nikola Jokic included 18 rebounds on defense alone and 21 overall.
“When we rebound like that, we usually win,” said Gordon, who had 10 rebounds. We must continue to eat the glass and rebound both ends of the court.”
While Jokic scored 30 points, grabbed 20 rebounds, and assisted 10 times, he had plenty of help on the glass. There were few answers inside for Gordon, Murray, and Porter, who had seven points.
Erik Spoelstra lamented the Miami Heat’ 50-50 loss, saying his team was pummeled in the paint. “They didn’t really need to shoot threes. It was 60 in the paint, whatever that is.
The team probably shot over 65% in the paint at the rim. Spaced the floor wasn’t necessary.”
As Denver looked to complement Jokic and Murray — who had 14 points midway through the second quarter and finished with 34 points — Gordon stepped forward. In 34 minutes on the court, the 27-year-old forward scored 11 points.
Christian Braun led the rookies with 15 points in 19 minutes off the bench. In addition to his performance, there were several others that were crucial.
“This is by far our most competitive game of the series, the most competitive game of the series, and it’s not because of the triple-doubles or all the individual stats,” coach Michael Malone said, citing 60 points in the paint and outrebounding the Miami Heat by a lot in a finals game. Defending and rebounding at a high level really helped us tonight.”
In Malone’s view, the Nuggets were retaliating from their poor performance in Game 2, when they blew a 15-point lead and lost the game. It is now his hope that the momentum will carry over to Game 4.
Malone stated, “I loved our energy, our effort, our urgency, and our discipline.”. “I felt we were where we needed to be tonight, and we’ll need to be even better on Friday.”.