Aaron Gordon leads Nuggets to Game 4 win, 3-1 series lead over Heat in NBA Finals

Aaron Gordon leads Nuggets to Game 4 win, 3-1 series lead over Heat in NBA Finals

MIAMI — The Denver Nuggets wanted somebody apart from Nikola Jokić or Jamal Murray to hold them in Sport 4, and since Aaron Gordon obliged they’re now getting ready to their first NBA championship.

Gordon scored a playoff career-high 27 factors and the Nuggets beat the Miami Warmth 108-95 to take a 3-1 lead within the 2023 NBA Finals. Denver can win the primary title in franchise historical past Monday at residence. Sport 5 is at 8:30 p.m. ET.

Jokić was no slouch in Sport 4 with 23 factors and 12 boards, however headed to the bench after choosing up his fifth foul with 9:24 remaining within the fourth quarter and Denver up 10.

“Guys stepped up,” Denver coach Michael Malone stated. “We have been up 13 going into the fourth quarter, they begin off 8-0 and that coincides with Nikola choosing up his fifth foul. So that they got here out aggressively. They’ve us on our heels, and normally within the common season when Nikola went out, issues sort of went haywire.

“However I can say not simply tonight however all through these playoffs, nonetheless many video games we’ve performed now, the non-Nikola minutes have gone rather well. … Actually a crew win. We’re not happy. We’re going residence. We all know we’ve numerous work to do, and we’re going to take it one quarter at a time.”

Over the 5 minutes Jokic sat on the bench, the closest the Warmth bought was six factors — the large buckets to carry them at bay have been a Jeff Inexperienced 3 after which a layup and free throw from Bruce Brown with 3:59 left for a 10-point benefit.

Murray prolonged his report streak to 4 video games with not less than 10 assists in his first finals, ending with 15 factors and 12 assists on an in any other case powerful evening on 5-of-17 taking pictures. He trails solely Magic Johnson for consecutive finals video games with not less than 10 assists, and didn’t commit a turnover in Sport 4.

“We’re simply able to win a championship,” Murray stated. “We’ve the instruments to do it. It’s been on our minds for some time.”

Brown completed with 21 factors off the bench — 11 of them within the fourth quarter.

Gordon asserted himself within the center quarters, with 15 factors within the second and one other 9 within the third, serving to the Nuggets to take that 13-point lead into the ultimate body. He added seven rebounds and 6 assists for his ninth profession sport with not less than 25, 5 and 5. 4 of these video games have come since Jan. 15.

“I assumed Aaron Gordon was enormous all evening lengthy,” Malone stated. “He introduced his arduous hat tonight and was only a warrior on each ends for us.”

The Warmth, who’re the verge of failing to turn out to be the primary crew in league historical past to win a title as a No. 8 seed, have been led by 25 factors from Jimmy Butler. Bam Adebayo contributed 20 factors and 11 boards, and bench gamers Kyle Lowry (13 factors), Duncan Robinson (12 factors), and Caleb Martin (11 factors) have been robust.

Beginning guards Gabe Vincent and Max Strus mixed for 2 factors in 38 minutes. The Warmth shot poorly once more at residence, this time chucking it at a 45-percent clip from the sector and eight of 25 from 3. In addition they dedicated 15 turnovers that led to 17 Nuggets factors.

Jokić, who’s cruising towards a finals MVP, is the primary participant in NBA historical past with 500 factors, 250 rebounds and 150 assists in a single postseason. He collected Friday’s numbers whereas combating by a sore ankle after touchdown on Strus’ foot within the first quarter.

The sport was stopped with 2:07 left within the third quarter after Adebayo held on the rim on a putback dunk try, bending the rim barely. This was the third sport this season the Nuggets have performed with such a stoppage.

A unusual little stat for a franchise on the verge of fulfilling its future.

“We keep true to our identification, we’ll give ourselves an amazing probability to try this,” Malone stated.

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(Photograph: Nathaniel S. Butler / NBAE through Getty Photographs)


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