Nikola Jokic credits Nuggets rookie Christian Braun after Game 3 victory: ‘He won us the game’

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The Nuggets put on a historic basketball exhibition this Wednesday evening as they beat the Heat 109 to 94 in Game 3 of the NBA Finals. With this latest road game victory in the Kaseya Center, Denver is now leading the championship series 2-1.

While their star duo Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic both became the first teammates to ever record triple-doubles in the same NBA Finals match, they aren’t the only ones that deserve praise after their dominant performance in Florida.

The Serbian big man, who registered an outstanding stat line of 32 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists, believes they won because of rookie Christian Braun‘s exhibition coming from the bench. “I told him ‘You won us the game,’” Jokic said postgame.

The 22-year-old was especially impactful in the second half of the match, providing confidence and momentum in both ends of the floor. He dropped 11 of his 15 points in the last two quarters.

Check out Braun’s highlights from his NBA Finals’ Game 3 performance:

“He’s a winner,” Jokic kept at it. “And he won us the game with energy, with just the focus, the mindset. Even when he makes a mistake, it’s an aggressive mistake, so you cannot be mad at him, so he won us the game and he was really good tonight.”

His biggest influence on the match probably came in the third period, as the rookie hit six points in the final 2:37 of the quarter. Early in the fourth, he scored five-straight points to guide Denver into a dominating 93-72 lead.

Before this contest, Braun was just averaging 2.4 points in 11.8 minutes per game in this postseason. The youngster came out of his shell right when his squad needed him the most, and stood out from the rest of the reserves who only combined for nine points in total.

The rookie recognizes the confidence his team has in his on-court abilities

“Those guys trust me, so I can’t really fail if I go out there and play hard,” Braun talked about the confidence he recieves from the Nuggets locker room.

“They don’t expect much from me, as far as the offensive end. They just expect me to go out there and give effort on defense rebound, whatever it is, try and get an extra possession for those guys to score.

“So they trust me, they put me in the right spots and all I gotta do is lay a ball in and get a steal, so my job’s pretty easy and those guys make me look pretty good,” he said postgame.

Denver head coach Michael Malone couldn’t agree more with his first-year player, as he gave credit to him for bringing in the energy the team needed to finish of the Heat in Florida.

“He’s very confident and he should be,” his trainer said. “We believed in him, we drafted him and he’s everything we hoped for and more.”

Both teams will now have two days to rest before Game 4 begins in South Beach on Friday, June 9 with tip-off at 8:30 p.m. ET. Denver will expect to maintain their momentum as Miami hopes to keep the series alive before returning to Colorado.