09 June, 2023
Nikola Joki seems to set records every night, and Game 3 of the NBA Finals was nothing out of the ordinary for the record-breaking Denver Nuggets player.
Joki became the first player to ever have a 30-20-10 stat line in the NBA Finals during the Nuggets’ 109-94 road victory over the Miami Heat. The Joker, however, saw nothing unusual about this.
I could care less. The Serbian finished the game with 32 points, 21 rebounds, and 10 assists, and when asked about his achievement, he remarked, “It’s just a stat.
Along with creating individual history, Joki made team history when he and Jamal Murray became the first teammates to record triple-doubles in the same NBA Finals contest. Murray torched the Heat from the off, scoring 34 points while adding 10 rebounds and 10 assists.
“I’ve been with Nikola for eight and Jamal for seven years now, and we’ve had some pretty good moments, but not in the NBA Finals,” said Nuggets head coach Michael Malone. “For those guys to make history the way they did tonight, no one has ever done that. I mean, that’s what’s really neat about it.”
Erik Spoelstra, the head coach of Miami, has nothing but admiration for Denver’s explosive combo.
It’s a fantastic team. “Their games really complement one another,” Spoelstra remarked after the historic game. “You have one player who can score in a variety of ways. Another player who sets excellent screens or handoffs, and if the ball comes back to him, he can enlist a large group of players.
Along with Jamal Murray, Joki also contributed to history by recording triple-doubles.
The opening quarter of Game 3 was quite evenly matched as both teams swapped buckets. After grabbing the initiative, the Nuggets finally built a five-point lead at the break and never looked back.
The third quarter saw Malone’s squad outscore the Heat 29-20, which proved to be the game’s turning point as Miami was unable to retake the lead.
Miami fans would have rejoiced to see Jimmy Butler score despite the Heat’s defeat. Butler has been the Heat’s standout throughout the playoffs, and his production on offense will be essential if Miami is to even the series in Game 4.
We are very happy. Tonight, we didn’t play at our peak. Butler maintained his positive attitude, saying, “I think we just need to come out with more energy and effort, and that’s correctable. “So come out, dive on the floor, get loose balls, get defensive rebounds, and maybe, just maybe, it would have been a different game.”
Along with Joki and Murray, Christian Braun also had a memorable evening. In Game 3, the rookie put on a display, scoring 15 points on 7-8 shooting for the whole game.
Malone praised the 22-year-old, saying, “He just has stayed ready the entire year, mentally, physically, and emotionally.” That child never experiences extreme highs or lows. Very cool, composed, and calm young man.
The Heat will attempt to even the series in Game 4 on Friday in front of their home crowd at the Kaseya Center.