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Nuggets almost blow 20-point fourth quarter lead in Game 3 vs. Lakers

Denver got a little too comfortable and made ML bettors a little too not comfortable. Still, the Nuggets made the Western Conference Finals 2-1 on Tuesday.

Jamal Murray of the Denver Nuggets dunks the ball against the Los Angeles Lakers during Game Three of the Western Conference Finals of the NBA Playoffs on September 22, 2020 at AdventHealth Arena in Orlando, Florida. Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images

The final score doesn’t tell us the entire story of Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals. The Denver Nuggets appear to have gotten a convincing 114-106 win over the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA bubble on Tuesday night. It wasn’t all smiles for most of the fourth quarter, however. The Lakers were trailing by 20 with around 10:00 left in the final frame. LeBron James and Rajon Rondo fueled a comeback that cut the Nuggets’ lead to 3 points. Denver eventually pulled away to make the series 2-1.

James registered his 26th career playoff triple-double, moving 4 behind former Lakers great Magic Johnson for most in NBA history. LeBron had 28 points, 11 dimes and 10 rebounds in the loss. What was most surprising came from Anthony Davis. If you had a prop on AD for a double-double or AD’s rebounds, well, it was probably a rough night for you. AD finished with 27 points and, checks box score, 2 (!) rebounds. Yes dos. But forget about the Lakers, let’s get to the Nuggets.

Jamal Murray. He’s made a name for himself already in these playoffs and the legend continues to grow. I mean, check out this INSANE 3-pointer to ice the win. It was some shit that Gus Johnson would have went bonkers over in the NCAA Tournament. Some “TJ Sorrentine hit that from the parking lot” type of shooting. Check out the shot via World Wide Wob. Jamal Murray simply isn’t human on that shot.

Murray would go on to finish with 28 points, 12 assists and 8 rebounds in the win. It was a do-or-die scenario down 2-0 to the Lakers. If the Nuggets had dropped the game and went down 3-0, that likely ends their season if history means anything. Instead, new life for the Nuggets and you’ve got to feel confident if you’re Denver. You’re an Anthony Davis 3-pointer away from being up 2-1 right now.

The Nuggets finally got some help from someone not named Murray or Nikola Jokic. Jerami Grant was the unlikely hero with 26 points on 7-of-11 shooting and 10-of-12 from the stripe. Monte Morris was also solid with 14 points off the bench. The Nuggets have solid depth but it hadn’t really shown up much so far in the conference finals. It’s a whole new series now with Game 4 set for Thursday, when the Nuggets will look to even the series.

It will be interesting to see how the line reacts. The Lakers have been around 7-point favorites in each game and basically lost two. It may be the last time we get a good number on the spread from the Nuggets. We could see the spread open and shrink depending on what it is. My guess is it starts around 5-6 points in favor of the Lakers and could go down. We also could be in for another long one from the Nuggets. Can you say Game 7 Part 3?