The Denver Nuggets received huge performances from their role players to finally get their first win in the Western Conference Finals since 2009. After taking Game 3, 114-106, they’ve cut the series lead of the LA Lakers to 2-1.
In a series that has superstars and future Hall of Famers on both teams, Game 3 was dictated by the X-Factors of Denver.
Several of Coach Mike Malone’s guys played big for him to keep them within striking distance against the Lakers.
Jerami Grant, Monte Morris, Michael Porter Jr, Paul Millsap and Gary Harris played high quality minutes to give the Nuggets a 20-point lead at one point during the game.
Grant finished with a new playoff career-high with 26 points with three rebounds, two steals while shooting 63.6% at the field. Morris dropped 14 buckets off the bench while Porter Jr added nine points, six rebounds with two assists and two steals.
Veterans Millsap and Harris showed excellent effort as well as the supporting starters to Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray.
Millsap had six points and eight rebounds while Harris had some big baskets in the game and finished with seven points and three assists.
Grant, who is the nephew of NBA Legend Horace Grant and the son of former NBA player Harvey Grant, surprised everyone with his huge game against LeBron James and Anthony Davis that even his head coach Malone had to tip his hat off and gave him his dues.
“We knew going in what we’re going to get every night from Nikola and Jamal but you always wonder, who’s gonna step up and be that third scorer? And tonight, for us obviously Jerami played in a big way on both ends of the floor,” he said during the postgame interview.
“I’m proud of Jerami, great to see him have some success offensively because he’s been working so hard at it. His hard work payed off tonight,” he added.
Los Angeles was able to come back from the huge deficit they were in but Murray and Jokic as usual finished it off in the final quarter.
Jokic finished the game with a double-double, 22 points and 10 rebounds along with five assists. Murray on the other hand almost had a triple-double with 28 points, 12 assists and eight rebounds.
The Blue Arrow was responsible as well for finishing off the Lakers in the closing quarter of the game by hitting a deep three-pointer to take the fight out of the LA squad.
Don’t look now, the Nuggets may have found the answer to have a better shot at winning against the Lakers and a big part of it is their role players. If the Nuggets want to have a shot at winning the series, they’ll need to continue to play big to help Jokic and Murray.
It’ll be exciting to see how Game 4 will pan out this Friday.