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Nikola Jokic, Jamal Murray notch triple-doubles to help Nuggets top Heat in Game 3


MIAMI — Never had two players from the same team had 30-point triple-doubles in the same game. Never in the regular season. Never in the playoffs. Certainly never in the NBA Finals.

Until now.

Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray made history Wednesday night — and have the Nuggets two wins away from making some real history, as well.

Jokic and Murray became the first teammates in NBA Finals history to notch triple-doubles, and the Nuggets reclaimed the lead in the series by beating the Heat 109-94 in Game 3.

“By far, their greatest performance as a duo in their seven years together,” Nuggets coach Michael Malone said after his team moved a little closer to its first NBA title.

Jokic had 32 points, 21 rebounds and 10 assists — the first such game in NBA Finals history, or at least the first since assists were tracked. Murray had 34 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists, getting the rebound he needed with nine seconds left.

The Nuggets outrebounded the Heat 58-33 and took a 2-1 lead. Game 4 is Friday in Miami.

“I’m just glad that we won the game,” Jokic said. “It was a big one for us because they won in our arena. We just didn’t want to go down 2-1.”

Jimmy Butler scored 28 points for Miami, and Bam Adebayo had 22 points and 17 rebounds.

“We’ve got to come out with more energy and effort, and that’s correctable,” Butler said. “That’s on us as a group.”

Jokic and Murray combined for 24 field goals; the Heat had 34. Jokic and Murray combined for 31 rebounds; the Heat had 33. Jokic and Murray combined for 20 assists; the Heat had exactly that many.

The Heat know they need to find an answer before Friday.

“It’s not an easy task to do,” Butler said. “But if we want to win, we’re going to have to figure it out.”

Miami has been the comeback kings of these playoffs — seven rallies in games after trailing by at least 12 points. The Heat were down by 14 going into the fourth quarter, and Malone reminded his club of Miami’s penchant for comebacks.

“First two games, they won the fourth quarter,” Malone said. “Tonight, we win the fourth quarter, we win the game.”

His team listened.

The lead eventually reached 21, the outcome never seriously in doubt, and Jokic looking very much like he’s back in cruise control. The Heat closed the deficit to nine on a three-pointer by Duncan Robinson with 1:22 left, but there was no epic finish for Miami. Murray and Jokic had the Nuggets too far ahead to get caught.

“You have to expect there to be elite talent in the Finals,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “And both those guys are elite-level talents.”

Officially, Jokic is now the seventh player to have two triple-doubles in the same Finals. Magic Johnson and LeBron James each did it in three different finals. Draymond Green, Wilt Chamberlain, Larry Bird and Butler all had one title series with two triple-doubles.

It was Jokic’s 10th triple-double of these playoffs, extending his season record, and he was unbothered by whatever Miami threw his way. He went 12-for-21 from the field and 7-for-8 from the foul line in 44 minutes.

“We were more locked in, more focused,” Jokic said.


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