The Denver Nuggets defeated the Miami Heat 109-94 in Game 3 of the NBA Finals, with rookie Christian Braun impressing with 15 points on 7-of-8 shooting. Braun’s performance was praised by his teammates, including Nikola Jokic who credited him for the win. Jamal Murray also encouraged Braun to be more aggressive in jumping passing lanes, which led to a highlight dunk in the third quarter. Despite his impressive performance, Braun downplayed his own accomplishments and is focused on continuing to develop his game. The win gave Denver a 2-1 series lead and restored their home-court advantage.
MIAMI – The rookie looked like a veteran.
“That’s a rare rookie right there,” Aaron Gordon said with Christian Braun seated to his right in the postgame press conference after the Nuggets’ 109-94 win over the Heat to take a 2-1 series lead in the NBA Finals on Wednesday at Kaseya Center.
“From Day 1, he’s been on top of it. This is a real winner right here. I say because he’s always in the right spot. He’s in the right place at the right time. He’s been doing that all year since Day 1. Nothing changes. He’s in the right place at the right time on the biggest stage. Now, you guys are getting to see it.”
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Braun was almost perfect in his first Finals game away from home. Braun finished with 15 points on 7-of-8 shooting from the field. His only miss was a corner 3 that he rebounded. He also grabbed four rebounds, dished out an assist and recorded a steal in his 19 minutes of playing time. While Nikola Jokic recorded the first stat line of its kind in the NBA Finals with 32 points, 21 rebounds and 10 assists, he credited the rookie for the win that restored Denver’s home-court advantage.
“I told him ‘You won us the game,’” Jokic recalled in his postgame conversation with Braun.
“He’s a winner, and he won us the game with energy. … Even when he makes a mistake, it’s an aggressive mistake. You cannot be mad at that.”
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Jamal Murray told him something else at halftime. Murray encouraged the rookie to jump passing lanes when he got the chance. An opportunity arrived in the final minute of the third quarter. Heat star Jimmy Butler had the ball on the right side of the court and looked for Duncan Robinson to his left. Braun read Butler’s eyes, tipped the pass into the open court, chased it down and ran past Robinson for an emphatic one-handed dunk.
“He had a chance to do it in the first half and he didn’t go. Second half he went for it,” Murray said.
“He’s going to grow and he’s going to be a very, very solid player in this league. I’m excited to see him develop his game and gain more confidence, more trust from not just us, the coaching staff, as well, and see him grow.”
Like a veteran, he downplayed his own accomplishments.
The Denver Nuggets took a 2-1 series lead in the NBA Finals with a 109-94 win over the Miami Heat on Wednesday, thanks in part to the impressive performance of rookie Christian Braun. Braun, who has been a consistent performer for the Nuggets throughout the season, stepped up in a big way in his first Finals game away from home, finishing with 15 points on 7-of-8 shooting from the field.
Braun’s performance did not go unnoticed by his teammates, with Aaron Gordon praising him as a “real winner” who is always in the right place at the right time. Nikola Jokic, who recorded a historic stat line of 32 points, 21 rebounds, and 10 assists in the game, credited Braun for the win that restored Denver’s home-court advantage.
Jamal Murray also had high praise for the rookie, encouraging him to jump passing lanes and take advantage of opportunities when they arise. Braun did just that in the final minute of the third quarter, tipping a pass from Jimmy Butler and running past Duncan Robinson for an emphatic one-handed dunk.
Despite his impressive performance, Braun remained humble and downplayed his own accomplishments. However, his teammates and coaches have no doubt that he has a bright future ahead of him in the NBA.
To bring everything full circle, the Nuggets’ win in Game 3 was a team effort, with Braun’s performance off the bench playing a key role in securing the victory. With the series now in their favor, the Nuggets will look to build on their momentum and take a commanding lead in Game 4.