Nuggets draw back late to take commanding 3-0 collection lead over Lakers

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By Stacy Connor

Jamal Murray scored 37 factors, Nikola Jokic added 24 factors and eight assists, and the Denver Nuggets rolled to a 3-0 lead within the Western Convention finals with a 119-108 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday evening.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored 12 of his 17 factors within the second half in opposition to his former workforce for the top-seeded Nuggets, who’ve by no means been this near the NBA Finals in 47 years within the league.

Denver blew a giant early lead in Recreation 3, however made a decisive 13-0 run within the fourth quarter to snap the Lakers’ nine-game house profitable streak since March 26, together with seven straight victories for the reason that common season ended.

No workforce has rallied from a 3-0 playoff collection deficit in NBA historical past. Recreation 4 is Monday evening in Los Angeles.

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Jamal Murray hyped

Jamal Murray #27 of the Denver Nuggets reacts to a play in entrance of Anthony Davis #3 of the Los Angeles Lakers in the course of the second quarter in recreation three of the Western Convention Finals at Crypto.com Area on Could 20, 2023 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: Consumer expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or utilizing this {photograph}, Consumer is consenting to the phrases and situations of the Getty Pictures License Settlement.  (Harry How/Getty Pictures)

Anthony Davis had 28 factors and 18 rebounds for the seventh-seeded Lakers, who hadn’t misplaced three straight video games since early February. Los Angeles’ extended, determined surge ever for the reason that commerce deadline has lastly run out of steam in opposition to the powerhouse Nuggets, who’ve received 5 consecutive playoff video games.

LeBron James had 23 factors, 12 assists and 7 rebounds for Los Angeles, hitting three 3-pointers after beginning the collection 0 for 13 from distance. Austin Reaves added 23 factors and 7 rebounds, however Rui Hachimura was the one different Lakers scorer to crack double figures with 13 factors.

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Jokic’s streak of 4 consecutive triple-doubles led to a reasonably quiet recreation for the two-time MVP. However Murray scored 17 factors in a dynamic first quarter following his 23-point fourth quarter two nights in the past, and he had 30 factors by halftime of Recreation 3.

Bruce Brown scored 15 factors and hit a key 3-pointer down the stretch for the Nuggets earlier than Jokic all however iced it on a 3-pointer with 3:17 to play.

The Lakers’ passionate followers turned out in drive for the 17-time champion franchise’s first convention finals video games at house since 2010, the yr of their final title. Los Angeles tried desperately to get again within the collection, with James taking part in 43 minutes after spraining his left ankle in Recreation 2 on high of his already sore proper foot.

However the Nuggets’ flight to the coast didn’t cool off Murray within the slightest: After lighting up the Lakers to shut Recreation 2, the Canadian guard made his first 5 pictures in Recreation 3 and poured in 17 factors within the first quarter — even whereas Jokic went scoreless for the second straight quarter.

Mike Malone with Jokic and Murray

Denver Nuggets head coach Michael Malone, middle, shakes fingers with Denver Nuggets middle Nikola Jokic (15) and guard Jamal Murray (27) within the second half of Recreation 3 of the NBA basketball Western Convention Remaining collection in opposition to the Los Angeles Lakers Saturday, Could 20, 2023, in Los Angeles.  (AP Photograph/Mark J. Terrill)

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Murray’s fourth 3-pointer of the evening made him 11 of 13 from the sphere for 26 factors halfway by way of the second quarter, scoring greater than half of Denver’s factors at an unbelievable tempo. Reaves and Davis stored the Lakers in it, with Reaves racking up 15 factors, three assists and three rebounds within the second quarter alone.

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Hachimura’s 3-pointer early within the fourth gave the Lakers their first lead for the reason that opening minutes, however the Nuggets took cost once more in a rally highlighted by Brown’s 3-pointer with 7:02 to play, after which he taunted the Lakers’ bench with Los Angeles’ personal “Freeze” 3-point celebration.

D’Angelo Russell had one other tough recreation for the Lakers, scoring three factors on 1-of-8 capturing in 20 minutes. Russell was the Lakers’ largest addition of their commerce deadline transformation, however the level guard has simply 21 factors on this three-game collection.

Bruce brown three

Bruce Brown #11 of the Denver Nuggets celebrates after making a 3 level basket in the course of the fourth quarter in opposition to the Los Angeles Lakers in recreation three of the Western Convention Finals at Crypto.com Area on Could 20, 2023, in Los Angeles, California.  (Harry How/Getty Pictures)

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Nuggets: Aaron Gordon had seven factors in 32 minutes. Michael Porter Jr. had 14 factors and 10 rebounds, capped by a 3-pointer within the closing 90 seconds.

Lakers: Backup C Mo Bamba missed his ninth consecutive recreation with a sore left ankle. The workforce is hopeful Bamba can play sooner or later on this collection. Followers close to courtside included Jack Nicholson, Eddie Murphy, Denzel Washington, Jake Gyllenhaal, Andy Garcia, Dyan Cannon, Ken Jeong, Joel McHale, LA Kings captain Anze Kopitar and defenseman Drew Doughty, and Khalil Mack, Derwin James and Sebastian Joseph-Day from the Los Angeles Chargers’ protection.

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