In each series that was at one time tied 1-1 this playoffs, the winner of Game 3 went on to advance. So, will the Nuggets’ 109-94 win over the Heat in Miami on Wednesday prove to be foreshadowing of the Nuggets’ first ever NBA championship, or will the Heat defy long odds once again?
Friday’s Game 4 should tell us a good deal.
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Heat vs. Nuggets
8:30 p.m. ET Friday on ABC
What are the odds for the Heat vs. Nuggets?
Series: Nuggets lead 2-1
Series odds: Nuggets -800, Heat +550
The story of Game 3 was Nikola Jokić and Jamal Murray stepping up in tandem on basketball’s grandest stage. With Jokić’s 32 points, 21 rebounds and 10 assists on 12-for-21 shooting, and Murray’s 34 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists on 12-for-22, they became the first pair of teammates in NBA history to post 30-point triple-doubles in the same game.
Regular season. Playoffs. Play-In. Any game.
That bit of trivia also overshadowed the loud contributions of rookie forward Christian Braun, who provided 15 points (7-for-8) shooting and dogged defense off the bench as Michael Porter Jr. (now 3-for-19 from 3-point range in the series) struggled again.
This game was a reminder of the talent gap between these two sides on paper, even if Miami did hang around until the bitter end. On the road or at home, Denver will continue to be favored, particularly because after a 6-0 start to the postseason, Miami has now dropped three straight games at home between the Eastern Conference Finals and this series.
On the prop side of things — Jokić now has triple-doubles in three of his last four games, the give-and-take between Braun and Porter Jr.’s minutes and production could be key to watch. Meanwhile, despite finishing Game 3 with 28 points, Jimmy Butler continues to lie dormant by his lofty playoff standards. If his seemingly-nicked-up ankle will allow it, Miami will need a big performance — and soon — to extend this series. And if they’ve proven nothing else this postseason, it is to never count them out.
Expert picks for Heat vs. Nuggets
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(Photo of Jimmy Butler and Jamal Murray: Megan Briggs / Getty Images)