The Denver Nuggets Game 3 statement win over the Miami Heat won’t be possible if both Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray didn’t make a mark for themselves on an important page of the NBA’s record books.
For coach Michael Malone, take the Thursday triumph for data also as the duo’s greatest game by far considering the glamour and the prestigious arena that they are within.
“I’ve been with Nikola for eight [years], and Jamal for seven years now. We’ve had some pretty good moments, but not in the NBA Finals. For those guys to make history, the way they did tonight – no one’s ever done that. That’s what’s really neat about it. You get the win,” Malone said about Jokic and Murray’s historic showings.
“By far their greatest performance as a duo in their seven years together.
Jokic had a masterpiece with 32 points, 21 boards, and 10 assists. The same goes for Murray on his own with his 34 points, 10 boards, and 10 assists.
But collectively as a two-man wrecking crew, they emerged as the only pair of teammates to register a 30-point triple-double in a single game of the entire 76-year existence of the NBA (per ESPN Stats & Info). This historic display served as the invincible engine of Denver to dominate the Heat and take back the momentum of the title series.
Seeing the two of the franchise cornerstones bloom throughout the years, Malone is beyond ecstatic that they are able to demonstrate their offensive craft and shine brightly on the game’s biggest stage. For him, the fact that both Jokic and Murray always play for each other only represents the special partnership they continue to build which sets a gold standard and an exquisite example.
“I’ve always felt that Nikola and Jamal Murray are one of the most elite and lethal two-man game combos in the NBA, and we’ve seen that growing for seven years now and I think it was on full display once again tonight,” he said.
“A lot of guys play with each other. I think those two guys play for each other, off of each other, and they read each other so well.”