The Denver Nuggets showed resilience yet again, bouncing back from a tough loss by defeating the Los Angeles Lakers 114-106 in Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals.
In their previous meeting, Anthony Davis snatched victory from Denver’s hands with the first playoff buzzer-beater of his career. The Nuggets came out to make a statement and dominated L.A. for the majority of Game 3, extending their lead to as many as 20 points in the third quarter.
The Lakers did go on a last-minute push and narrowed the gap to three points, but Jamal Murray made sure history would not repeat itself and put the game to bed with a couple of late 3s, securing Denver’s first win of the series.
“We feel like we should be up 2-1 right now, to be honest,” Murray said after the win.
The Nuggets have already come back from two 3-1 deficits in the 2020 NBA Playoffs. In the previous series, they fell behind the L.A. Clippers after failing to seal a victory in Game 3 despite a solid performance — as they did in Game 2 against the Lakers.
Murray admitted he could see similarities between the two playoff losses. But he said the Nuggets made sure not to let the Game 2 loss get into their heads. “I thought today we had a hit-first mentality, especially in the first quarter. Kind of took off from there,” Murray said.
“We got everybody into a groove. Guys were playing at a higher rate, we were rebounding, running. We just had a flow. Those games hurt, but it feels better when you bounce back the way we did tonight. Like I said, we bounce back the way we do, we’ll be fine. We’re back in the series.”
Vogel calls for urgency after Game 3 loss
Lakers head coach Frank Vogel admitted his team did not match Denver’s energy up until their short-lived rally in the fourth quarter. But he expressed hope the painful defeat would rekindle L.A.’s desire and prompt them to play with urgency in Game 4.
“This is the playoffs,” Vogel said. “We have to respond to a loss, and you know, we know how resilient this team is, and also, we have to come out with great fight in Game 4.”
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