Nuggets now in full command of NBA Finals, top Heat 108-95 for 3-1 lead
MIAMI (AP) — The mission for the Denver Nuggets was clear: Come to Miami, get two wins and head back home with a chance to finally become champions of the US National Basketball Association (NBA) league. It's officially there for the taking.
The 47-year wait for Denver might be over as soon as Monday, with Nikola Jokic and his Nuggets now just one win away from getting the title that he's wanted for so long. Aaron Gordon scored 27 points, Jokic added 23 and the Nuggets beat the Miami Heat 108-95 on Friday night to take a 3-1 lead in the NBA Finals.
“We haven't done a damn thing yet,” Nuggets coach Michael Malone said. “We have to win another game to be world champions.”
Bruce Brown scored 21 off the bench for the Nuggets, who won their fifth straight road game to grab complete command. They'll have three chances to win one game for a title, two of those in Denver, the first in what's sure to be a raucous atmosphere for Game 5.
Jamal Murray had 15 points and 12 assists — his fourth consecutive double-digit assist game — for Denver.
“Today was a team effort.” Murray said. “I can't even name one person. Everybody locked in. We've got one more to go.”
Jimmy Butler scored 25 points for Miami, which has now fallen into 3-1 holes in each of its last three finals appearances — this one joining 2014 and 2020. Bam Adebayo had 20 points and 11 rebounds for the Heat, while Kyle Lowry added 13 points.
The Heat walked off the floor in silence, fully aware of how much trouble they're in now.
“Now we're in a must-win situation, every single game — which we're capable of,” Butler said. “It's not impossible.”
The Nuggets were overwhelming favourites to start the series, for obvious reasons. Denver was the Western Conference's No. 1 seed; Miami was the Eastern Conference's No. 8 seed. The Nuggets had won nine of the last 10 regular-season meetings between the teams, and their run of success over the Heat has continued through four games of the finals.
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