2023 NBA Finals: What happened in the regular season games between Heat and Nuggets?
Erik Spoelstra and Michael Malone’s sides will collide for the NBA Championship, but which team did better during the regular season when they played each other?
The Miami Heat and the Denver Nuggets will battle it to see who will become the 2022-23 NBA champions.
Miami became just the second No. 8 seed to reach the very last round in the competition’s history as they pulled off the upset against the Boston Celtics.
The Heat were 0-3 up in the Eastern Conference Finals but saw last year’s runners-up come back with three solid performances by Jason Tatum & co. to level up the series. However, Erik Spoelstra’s side learned their lesson and dominated Game 7.
The Nuggets were the best team in the league in the Western Conference and they proved why in the playoffs.
Denver finished with 53 wins and 29 losses at the end of the regular season, a record that was only bettered by the Philadelphia 76ers, the Celtics, and the Milwaukee Bucks.
The Nuggets, led once again by the two-time league MVP Nikola Jokic, had little trouble making it to the Finals, as they dispatched the Minnesota Timberwolves, Phoenix Suns, and the Los Angeles Lakers quite easily.
Heat vs Nuggets: regular season clashes
After facing each other twice this campaign, now Miami and Denver are ready to go at it again for the biggest price in the tournament, the Larry O’Brien trophy.
Denver will have the home advantage, as they were the better team over the 82 games of the regular season, which means that if a seventh game is needed, it will take place at Ball Arena.
The Nuggets are the big favorites to claim their first-ever Championship, as they have been almost unstoppable in the playoffs, but also because they have dominated the Heat this term.
The first time these teams met was at the end of December in Denver. The Nuggets, guided by Jokic and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, managed to come out on top, although it was a hard-fought game that the hosts won by a five-point difference (119-124).
In the second game, at Kaseya Center, the Heat we close to avenging their loss to the Nuggets, but in the end, their efforts were not enough, as Denver emerged victorious again with another tight result, this time 112-108 for Malone’s men. Jokic was the game’s top scorer with 27 points, while Jimmy Butler registered 23 points.