With a trip to the NBA Finals on the horizon, it will be difficult for Denver to play the underdog role.
Nikola Jokic sat between two microphones while he scoured his mental dictionary for the right phrase. His watch’s gold face glinted in the crowded room’s bright lights. He just stated that his English falters when he speaks too rapidly. He named players like Jamal Murray, Michael Porter Jr., Aaron Gordon, and Bruce Brown, all of whom had contributed to the Denver Nuggets’ historic run to the brink of the NBA Finals.
“Poison?” Jokic stated in a bemused tone.
With some mild prodding from a few media members, he swiftly settled on the term he was looking for, “contagious.” In retrospect, “poison” seems the best term to characterize the Nuggets’ summer actions toward their rivals. They infect you, probe for your vulnerabilities, and then persistently assault those spots until they’ve accomplished their goal.
Jokic may be a skilled writer adept at downplaying his impressive qualities.
Denver’s head coach, Michael Malone, enjoyed making the Lakers the focus of his opening two Western Conference Finals games with the hard sell, much like a struggling salesperson looking to make a mortgage payment. That’s accurate and wrong to differing degrees, but it seems like Coach Malone and some of the players, Jokic included, have bought into it.
Nuggets Stun Lakers in Game 3, Secure Commanding 3-0 Series Lead with Dominant Performance
Despite the Nuggets being viewed as the superior team and holding a 2-0 series lead, most experts predicted a Lakers victory in Game 3. The Nuggets won Saturday’s game 119-108 in a very easy fashion to grab a commanding 3-0 series lead and continue to defy expectations, like they have done all season.
When the Lakers opened the game with a haymaker, Denver answered with an uppercut of its own, with Murray scoring 17 points in the first quarter on the way to a mind-boggling 30 by halftime.
Nuggets guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope stated after the game, “We came out aggressive, with the mindset this is a business trip.” We didn’t want to be the ones to feel the strain initially, so we decided to come in and exert some ourselves. We were eager to get things started, so we played aggressively in the opening frame. We’ve achieved our goals without a hitch.
Nuggets Bench Steps Up in Jokic’s Absence, Securing Critical Victory in Game 3
When Jokic was taken out of the game with four fouls and seven minutes left in the third quarter, the Lakers made their play because they had shown they could come back from a deficit.
The Denver Nuggets have suffered greatly without Jokic on the court, not just this season. It has been the case since Jokic has become the team’s major offensive power. Nevertheless, Caldwell-Pope, Jeff Green, and the rest of the bench helped the Nuggets stay afloat and extend their advantage on Saturday. It laid the ground for Jokic’s comeback, which resulted in 15 points in the final period and a victory.
During the third quarter, “I thought KCP was unbelievable,” Malone remarked. Made crucial contributions, crucial shots. While Nikola was gone, the rest of our defense stepped up to the plate. Nikola, you can’t put him out of the game for long.
They Deliver Decisive Blow, Solidifying Their Status as NBA Title Contenders
The kind of victory leaves the opposition team’s fans feeling completely defeated. The audience was excited as the Lakers had several chances to make a play. But the Nuggets, a team with depth, confidence, and outstanding cohesion, repelled them at every step.
With their Game 3 victory, the Nuggets ended any doubts about their status as NBA title favorites.
It presents an intriguing problem, as it is well known that the Rocky Mountain–sized chip on the Nuggets’ collective shoulder provides them with at least some of their power. The “nobody believes in us” mentality becomes useless if, at some point, everyone starts to believe in you.
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