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Gordon, Brown key win, Nuggets lead 3-1

(AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

MIAMI (AP) The mission for the Denver Nuggets was clear: Come to Miami, get two wins and head back home with a chance to finally become NBA champions.

It's officially there for the taking.

The 47-year wait for Denver might be over as soon as Monday, with Nikola Jokic and his Nuggets now just one win away from getting the title that he's wanted for so long. Aaron Gordon scored 27 points, Jokic added 23 and the Nuggets beat the Miami Heat 108-95 on Friday night to take a 3-1 lead in the NBA Finals.


Brown comes up huge late for Nuggets

MIAMI (AP) What can Brown do for the Denver Nuggets?

He has them one win from their first championship in franchise history.


Heat appear to be running out of magic

MIAMI (AP) Get this series back to the 305.

That’s what Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra repeated fervently after a loss to the Denver Nuggets on Friday night left them once again facing elimination.


Celtics' Grant Williams has hand surgery

BOSTON (AP) Celtics forward Grant Williams had surgery Friday to repair a torn ligament in his left hand and is expected to be sidelined from basketball activities for the next two months.

The team said that Williams, 24, will need 6-8 weeks to recover following the procedure.


2022 NCAA champ Braun seeks NBA title

DENVER (AP) Denver Nuggets rookie Christian Braun is showing that the NBA Finals is not too big of a stage for him.

The 21st pick in the draft last summer, Braun has made the most of his minutes off the bench, sinking 10 of 12 shots, grabbing a half dozen rebounds and collecting four steals against the Miami Heat while giving teammates an extended breather.


Vogel aiming for early success with Suns

PHOENIX (AP) Frank Vogel led the Lakers to an NBA title in his first season in Los Angeles by finding a way to mesh the skills of stars LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

The veteran coach is now in a similar situation in the desert, where he takes over a Phoenix Suns team led by stars Devin Booker and Kevin Durant.


Heat, Panthers, Messi have Miami buzzing

SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) South Florida was already throwing a smashing sports party. And then Lionel Messi decided to join the fun.

The Miami Heat are in the NBA Finals, the Florida Panthers are in the NHL’s Stanley Cup Final and the area is hosting championship-series games four nights in a row. During that unprecedented stretch, Messi announced he's going to sign with Inter Miami of Major League Soccer, and for good measure the Marlins are surprisingly in second place two months into the baseball season with Luis Arraez hitting over .400.


Coaches may soon get 2nd challenge

MIAMI (AP) NBA coaches may soon get to challenge two calls in a game instead of just one, the league revealed Wednesday.

The current rule gives coaches one challenge per game, whether they’re right or not. The league’s competition committee is weighing whether coaches should be rewarded with a second challenge opportunity to use later in the game if the first one is deemed successful.


Heat's Herro not yet cleared to play

MIAMI (AP) Since breaking his hand in the first round of the NBA playoffs, Miami Heat guard Tyler Herro has been relegated to offering his teammates support in conspicuously gaudy outfits - topics of much conversation - from the sidelines.

The Heat would much rather have their 20-point scorer on the court. But, his return is still pending, and though Miami is holding out hope that Herro could play basketball again this season, he is running out of time and games.


Bucks make hiring of Griffin official

MILWAUKEE (AP) Adrian Griffin understands the responsibility that comes with taking over a title contender as a first-time head coach.

“Let’s be real,” Griffin said Tuesday during his introductory news conference as the Milwaukee Bucks’ coach. What first-time head coach gets to coach the Milwaukee Bucks, with all the special talent on this team? I’m extremely humbled.”

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