Nuggets Hold On To Win Game 3
It wasn't easy, and at one point in the fourth quarter it looked like victory may be in doubt.
But in the end, the Denver Nuggets continued their trend of refusing to die.
After watching a 20-point fourth quarter lead dwindle to 4, the Nuggets held on to beat the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday, 114-106.
The Nuggets are now on the board, with the Lakers holding a 2-1 series lead.
Here are the key takeaways from Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals:
1. Denver's "others" show up
In Games 1 and 2, Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray carried their weight, averaging 25.5 and 23.0 points, respectively.
But the Nuggets role players had yet to show up in the series – until Tuesday.
After scoring 16 combined points in the first two games, Jerami Grant scored a playoff career-high 26 points, and he wasn't the only Denver role player to come up big.
Reserve point guard Monte Morris added 14 points on 5-for-7 shooting in 20 minutes.
If the Nuggets are going to pull off their third straight comeback in a series, they will need production from the supporitng cast.
Tonight was a good start.
2. Rebounding proves optional
The Lakers lean heavily on their dynamic duo of LeBron James and Anthony Davis, but they are also known for their imposing front line.
However, on Tuesday, the Laker big men were a non-factor on the glass.
The Nuggets won the rebounding battle, 44-25, which proved to be key for them winning Game 3. Denver lost the rebounding battle, 44-31, in Game 2.
The most eye-popping statistic of the night is that Davis only recorded 2 rebounds, a playoff career-low. He averages 11.7 rebounds per game in his playoff career.
3. Three-point drought
While one of the Lakers main strengths has been their rebounding this season, three-point shooting has not been.
And their struggles from deep reared its ugly head again in Game 3.
Shooting guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope shot 2-for-5 from behind the arc, but he was the only Laker to make more than one three on the night, with the team shooting 6-for-26 from distance.
In the Lakers' three postseason losses, they have shot 15%, 28.9% and 23.1% from deep, and LA is now 0-3 in the playoffs when they score less than 110 points.
It's easier said than done, but if the Nuggets can continue to make it hard for the Lakers to get clean looks from deep, they might find themselves stealing the momentum of this series.