Denver Nuggets on brink of maiden NBA Finals series
Jamal Murray has top-scored with 37 points to help put the Denver Nuggets on the brink of a maiden NBA Finals series with a 119-108 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers.
Battling foul trouble, Nikola Jokic added 24 points and eight assists and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored 12 of his 17 points in the second half as the top-seeded Nuggets won Game 3 of the western conference finals in Los Angeles to take a 3-0 lead.
The Nuggets have never been this close to the NBA Finals in 47 years in the league.
Denver blew a big early lead in Game 3, but made a decisive 13-0 run in the fourth quarter to snap the Lakers' nine-game home winning streak since March 26, including seven straight victories since the regular season ended.
"This group is capable of doing great things, and they believe," Denver coach Michael Malone said. "Belief is a very powerful thing."
No team has rallied from a 3-0 playoff series deficit in NBA history. Game 4 of the best-of-seven series is Monday night in Los Angeles.
Anthony Davis had 28 points and 18 rebounds for the seventh-seeded Lakers, who hadn't lost three straight games since early February.
Los Angeles' prolonged, desperate surge ever since the trade deadline has finally run out of steam against the powerhouse Nuggets, who have won five consecutive playoff games.
"They've been at the top of the food chain for a reason, and have a plethora of guys that can hurt you, as was on full display tonight," Lakers coach Darvin Ham said.
LeBron James had 23 points, 12 assists and seven rebounds for Los Angeles, hitting three 3-pointers after starting the series 0 for 13 from distance.
Austin Reaves added 23 points and seven rebounds, but Rui Hachimura was the only other Lakers scorer to crack double figures with 13 points.
Jokic's streak of four consecutive triple-doubles ended in a fairly quiet game for the two-time MVP.
But Murray scored 17 points in a dynamic first quarter following his 23-point fourth quarter two nights ago, and he had 30 points by halftime of Game 3.
The Lakers' passionate fans turned out in force for the 17-time champion franchise's first conference finals games at home since 2010, the year of their last title.
Los Angeles tried desperately to get back in the series, with James playing 43 minutes after spraining his left ankle in Game 2 on top of his already sore right foot.