Nuggets’ Austin Rivers had to face hard truth. He’s now gone from jobless to Game 3 hero

Two basic truths help explain the Nuggets’ 2-1 series lead over the Trail Blazers in the teams’ first-round playoff series, an edge they gained by virtue of their 120-115 win in Game 3 at Portland late Thursday night.

First, Nikola Jokic, the presumptive NBA MVP, has entered a new postseason stratosphere. He scored 36 points in Game 3 — his average for the series — and muscled home the game-sealing bucket on a putback with one second left. Jokic is shooting 58 percent from the field, 50 percent from 3-point range and 94 percent from the free-throw line through three games. As brilliant as he was when these teams met two years ago, he’s been even better this time around, by a wide margin.

The second truth is far more surprising.


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