Denver Nuggets moved within one win of its first NBA title on Friday, beating Miami Heat 108-95 to take a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.
Aaron Gordon starred for Denver, putting up 27 points. Nikola Jokic added 23 for the Nuggets, who can secure the championship with a home victory in game five on Monday.
The eighth-seeded Heat have made a habit of comebacks and upsets during their run to the finals, but they again looked clear second-best against Michael Malone’s team.
Questions had been asked of the Nuggets after they lost game two on their home court, but they leave Miami with two road victories and need one win from three games to clinch the crown.
Denver were up by four at the half, but as in Wednesday’s encounter they took a firm of grip of proceedings during the third quarter where they moved 13 points ahead.
The Nuggets had to cope without Jokic for a five-minute spell in the fourth quarter when he was benched by Malone after picking up a fifth foul.
But Miami failed to take advantage, continuing to miss baskets on transition plays and unable to exploit the lack of the Serbian’s presence in the paint.
Bruce Brown delivered down the stretch, ending with 21 points on eight of 11 shooting from the field as the Nuggets raced towards the finish line.
“Today was a team effort. I can’t even name one person,” said Denver guard Jamal Murray. “Everybody locked in.
“We’ve got one more to go,” added Murray, who had 15 points and 12 assists — maintaining his record of double figure assists in each game in the series.
“I give all my credits to my teammates. They did a great job. There’s a great team effort on both ends. We’ve got to do that for one more game and we get our goal,” he said.
“We just need to stay level-headed, stay focused”.
Miami, which was outgunned in three point shooting 14-8, was led by Jimmy Butler’s 25 points with Bam Adebayo adding 20.
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