Jamal Murray Propels Denver Nuggets to 3-0 Lead over Los Angles Lakers in WCF

A return home didn't do the Los Angeles Lakers any good. The Denver Nuggets took a commanding 3-0 lead in the Western Conference Finals on Saturday night on the back of yet another prolific game from Jamal Murray. For the second game in a row, the budding star scored 37 points, and his surprising play has the Nuggets barreling towards their first Finals appearance since the merger.

Murray hit 15 of 29 field goal attempts and added seven rebounds, six assists, and two steals. It was his third consecutive 30+ point game. Shockingly, he finds himself the leading scorer in a series that includes LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Nikola Jokic.

Murray's big night made up for a somewhat underwhelming performance from his partner in crime Jokic. For the second game in a row, the two-time MVP hit less than 50% of his field goal attempts (9 of 19). He also failed to record a double-double for only the second time all postseason. 

Still, Jokic has been fantastic for the majority of the playoffs this year: including tonight's game, he's averaging 29.9 points, 13.2 rebounds, and 10.0 rebounds per game. The fact that the Nuggets have managed to win despite his recent hiccups speaks well of their chances of securing their first title in franchise history.

As for the Lakers, their championship dreams can be put to rest. James and Davis were perfectly serviceable, combining for 51 points, 25 rebounds, and 13 assists on 19 of 37 from the field, but the Lakers' formula for success requires a lot more from the dynamic duo. Even another startlingly efficient game from Austin Reaves (23 points on a tidy seven of 10 field goal attempts) wasn't enough to make up the difference.

Now the Lakers find themselves in a hole they've little chance of climbing out of. No team in NBA history has come back from a 3-0 deficit to win a best-of-seven series. Barring a miracle exceeding any he has managed in his storied career, James' age 38 season appears certain to end soon, as will one of his last and best chances at a fifth championship ring.

The Lakers host the Nuggets for Game 4 on Monday at 8:30 PM ET. 

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