The Denver Nuggets outlasted an epic Los Angeles Lakers rally to claim Game 3 114-106 in the Western Conference finals.
After a heartbreaking buzzer-beating loss in Game 2, the Nuggets produced a trademark performance of resilience behind Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic double-doubles to reduce the Lakers' series lead to 2-1 in the NBA playoffs.
The Nuggets looked on track to cruise to victory in the third showdown, having taken a 93-75 lead through three quarters at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida.
But LeBron James – who tallied a triple-double – and the top-seeded Lakers reeled off a stunning 19-2 run and forced six successive turnovers to close within 101-98 with less than four minutes remaining on Tuesday.
Veteran guard Rajon Rondo was instrumental in the Lakers' fightback courtesy of three steals against the stuttering Nuggets.
But the Nuggets – who became the first team in NBA history to overcome a 3-1 deficit to win a series twice in the same postseason en route to the Conference finals – fended off the Lakers with a run of their own as Murray finished with 28 points, 12 assists and eight rebounds.
All-Star big man Jokic posted 22 points, 10 rebounds and five assists, and Jerami Grant had a playoff career-high 26 points to help the Nuggets avoid a 3-0 hole.
James led the Lakers with his 26th career triple-double, which included 30 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds, while Anthony Davis – the last-gasp hero in Game 2 – had 27 points.
Celtics face Heat
The Boston Celtics will look to level their series against the Miami Heat when they two teams meet in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals on Wednesday.