Miami Heat 111 vs 108 Denver Nuggets summary: stats and highlights | NBA Finals
The Miami Heat evened up the NBA Finals while handing the Denver Nuggets their first home loss of the postseason on Sunday night from Ball Arena. Gabe Vincent was the Heat’s hero, scoring 23 points in the 111-108 victory to send the series back to Miami at 1-1.
Spoestra starts Love to matchup to Denver
Doubt has followed Miami throughout this improbable playoff run, and those doubts amplified after the Nuggets beat them down physically in their Game 1 loss. They looked overmatched, and undersized in the series opener, but Eric Spoelstra made an adjustment to start the game that worked wonders for the Heat’s defense.
Kevin Love started the game in place of Caleb Martin to bring some size and balance on the defensive end and the Nuggets were denied those easy looks close to the bucket that they got on Thursday in Game 1. Between the lockdown defense and Max Strus’ incredible shooting start, the Heat built up an 11 point lead.
Strus bounced back after an 0/10 night from the field by hitting four first quarter three pointers on a night in which the role players played a big part of their win on the road. Denver responded after their slow start and took the lead early in the second quarter after a string of four straight threes built a 25-9 run in which Denver regained momentum heading into halftime.
Robinson catches fire in fourth
Nikola Jokic had 13 at halftime, and exploded out of the break scoring 18 points in the third quarter. The Heat seemed to change up their tactics in Game 2, allowing Jokic to dominate the game on the scoring end, but he had just four assists all night which disrupted the Nuggets offense. The Serbian ended the night with 41 points, but Jamal Murray was the next highest scorer with 16.
Coach Eric Spoelstra implemented a zone that was much more effective because the Heat were making shots that they weren’t on Thursday night. Miami shot 48.6% from three point range, but despite their hot shooting they trailed by 8 going into the final quarter.
Jokic ended the third quarter on fire, but Duncan Robinson started the four scorching. He scored eight straight points and 10 in the quarter as the Heat went on a 15-2 run to take the lead shortly after the quarter change.
Game 3 on Wednesday in Miami
Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo would help extend the advantage to 12 points with 3:30 to go in the game, but Denver had one last charge that almost tied up the game. Murray hit two threes in an 11-2 run that left the Nuggets with a chance to tie the game up with a three pointer on the final possession. Miami declined to foul, and let Murray shoot a contested triple that rimmed out as time expired.
Butler had 8 of his 21 in the fourth quarter and applied the defense on Murray’s missed buzzer beater while Adbayo matched his 21 and Strus ended the game with 14.
The team that has been doubted all postseason long pulled another shock win on the road to take home court advantage from the Nuggets and send the series back to Miami at 1-1. Game 2 from Dade County is set for Wednesday at 8:30 from Kaseya Center.
The Nuggets had a chance to tie the game in the final seconds, but Murray's three was off the mark and we are headed back to Miami with the series tied at 1-1
Bam hit two FTs to put Miami up by 5 with under a minute left and that was enough to close out the Nuggets in Denver.
Three straight threes, including two from Murray brought the Nuggets right back into the game with just over a minute to go.
It looked like Miami was going to run away with it as the lead built up to 11 with this Bam Adebayo monster jam and-one, but Denver got hot from outside late and almost completed the comeback.
Miami shot 11/16 from the field in fourth quarter, but would have to hold off the Nuggets until the very end.
When it's clutch time, look for Playoff Jimmy. Even when he's not having a stellar night, the you know he's going to show up when it counts. He finished the night with 21 points and 9 assists.
Robinson had all 10 of his points in the fourth quarter, and if it weren't for his run early in the quarter the Heat don't come back and win Game 2.
Vincent put the Heat back in the lead for the first time since early in the second quarter with this three ball. Once they took the lead, they would not give it back.
Duncan Robinson answered Jokic's big third quarter with 8 straight points to start the fourth quarter.
The Heat tied the game up with this dunk from Bam Adebayo, but the Nuggets would go on a big run thanks to an 18 point third quarter from Jokic.
Vincent went 4/6 from downtown and 8/12 from the field and led the Heat in scoring in the Game 2 win in Denver.
Jimmy Butler didn't have a game that will go down in history for his individual performance, but came through late in the game when his team needed him most.
The Nuggets went on a 25-9 run in the second quarter to take a 15 point lead but Miami came battling back with Gabe Vincent leading the charge.
Strus hit four threes in the first quarter, to get the Heat out to an 11 point lead early in Game 2.
A lot of responsibility has been placed on Bam Adebayo. He is expected to guard Nikola Jokic and produce on the offensive end. Stopping Jokic is nearly impossible, but offensively Bam has been great in this series.
Max Sturs went 0/10 from the field in Game 1, but made sure to get going early to avoid another 0-for night.
IT'S ALL OVER!!! THE MIAMI HEAT EVEN UP THE NBA FINALS AT 1-1
Murray missed the three ball at the buzzer and the Miami Heat are going to take Game 2!!!
Jokic had Vincent at the FT line and backed him down and hit the turnaround floater.
Adebayo to the line after the foul on KCP and he hits both FTs with 48.1 on the clock.
11-2 run from Denver and we have a minute left in the fourth!
MURRAY STICKS ANOTHER THREE BALL AND WE HAVE A THREE POINT GAME WITH 1:09 TO GO!!!
Brown with the offensive rebound and the put back in the paint.
Butler pulls up from the mid range and drills the jumper. Under 2:00 to go.
Murray pulls up from five feet behind the arc and drills the three ball!!!
Gordon answers back with a three pointer and the Nuggets aren't dead just yet! Under 3:00 to go.
Butler got his own rebound off the missed floater and hit Martin in the corner for three!!!
Timeout Miami with 4:03 to go in the fourth quarter!
Murray dumps it off to Jokic in the paint and he finishes with the lay in.
Adebayo with the pick and roll and he streaks to the rack, skies to the iron throws it down and gets the foul!!! FT is good to complete the three point play with 4:53 to go in the game.
Lowry get fouled by KCP on the three point attempt, and that's two fouls on three pointers by KCP. Lowry goes to the line and hits all three FTs with 5:25 to go in the fourth quarter!
Jokic gets the roll on the contested shot in the lane.
Butler with a short pull up jumper and he gets the bucket and the foul!!! FT is good to complete the three point play!
Murray to the rack and he hangs in the air to hit the lay in off the glass.
Butler in the corner and you have to think he's going to come alive with the game on the line.
Jokic gets the pass in the middle of the paint and hits the easy shot over Butler. He's got 35 on the night!
Adebayo on the pick and pop and he hits the FT line jumper. Miami is 6/6 from the field in this quarter.
Jokic to the line after the foul on Adebayo, and he hits both FTs.
Vincent going to the line after the foul on KCP and the HEat are in the bonus the rest of the way with over 9:00 to go. Both FTs are good for Vincent.
Robinson off the curl and he goes to the rack and finishes over Green! 10-0 run for the Heat and the Nuggets need another timeout!!
Vincent drills a wide open three ball in the corner and they take the lead for the first time since early in the second quarter!
Robinson with a spot up three ball and he's started the quarter on an 8-0 run!!
Timeout Denver who lead by just 2 with 10:48 to go in the fourth quarter!
Robinson with back to back buckets, this time on the baseline drive and he gets the lay in AND ONE!!! FT is no good, but the Heat get the rebound on a loose ball foul.
Green to the line after the foul on Lowry and he hits both FTs.
Robinson starts the fourth quarter with a pump fake and a three ball from the top of the key!
The third quarter comes to an end after the Heat came back and tied it up at 66, but the Nuggets pulled back ahead by 8 thanks to an 18 point third quarter from Jokic.
Jokic at the line after the foul on Zeller, and he hits one of two FTs.
Jokic picks up the loose ball on one end, goes coast to coast and finishes with the lay up.
Jokic backing down Zeller, pull up not even facing the basket, gets the whistle and the roll! FT is good to complete the three point play.
Lowry with the catch and release three ball from the wing and we have a two point game!
Jokic backing down Adebayo and hits the turn around lay it.
Zeller with a tough finish in traffic after Butler found him on the baseline.
Brown goes to the line and hits both FTs after the foul on Strus.
Butler draws the defense and off loads to Adebayo for the floater.
Jokic with the floater after dragging Vincent into the paint and finishing with the floater.
Butler fouled by KCP after the timeout and he hits both FTs.
Timeout Heat with 5:21 to go in the third quarter.
Jokic slid it across the baseline to Porter Jr. and he gets the floater to fall.
Adebayo called for the foul on the Jokic three point attempt and the Serbian hits all three from the line.
Bam with the left handed finger roll after the pick and roll.
Gordon at the line after the foul on Vincent, but he misses both FTs.
Murray pulls the trigger off the dribble from the elbow and hits the mid range jumper.
Jokic was called for the clear path foul on Adebayo, and Bam hits both FTs and the Heat get the ball back with the game tied up.
Vincent with another three ball and the offense has turned up here to start the second half!
We have a two point game, and the Nuggets need a timeout with 9:21 to go in the third quarter!
Jokic strings the three ball, and that shouldn't come as surprise since he's shooting 47% from downtown this postseason!
Love drills a three ball off the assist from Vincent and it's Vincent the one who is stepping up when the Heat need it the most.
Jokic gets the entry pass and hits the turn around jumper.
Adebayo gets into the paint and finishes with the lay in off the glass.
Gordon with the alley oop off the assist from KCP, and he's had a few of those tonight.
Vincent with a corner three to start the second half and we have a two point game!
WE ARE BACK IN PLAY FOR THE SECOND HALF OF ACTION FROM DENVER!
Jimmy has some work to do in the second half. He's got 11 at the break, but hasn't been the PLayoff Jimmy we have grown used to.
The lead crept up to 15 and the Denver bench was a big reason why. They have 20 of the 57 points coming out of the halftime break.
Murray and the Nuggets upped the intensity on defense and it lead to easy buckets on the other end. He's got 8 points heading into the halftime break.
Murray was held scoreless in the first quarter, but that wouldn't last long. He hit this corner three to get his night going, and shortly after the Nuggets took a commanding lead.
After an 8-2 run to end the first quarter, the Nuggets continued to pour it on out of the gate in the second. The defense stepped up and Denver started running the break which lead to four straight three balls.
Joker had 3 FGs in the first half of Game 1, tonight he is being more assertive on the offensive end and has 13 points on 13 field goals.
Strus hit four first quarter threes to start the game, and had 12 points heading into the second quarter. He went to halftime with 14 points, and needs to keep hot from DT if the Heat are going to have a chance.
Miami came out playing some great defense thanks to the change in the starting five. Kevin Love got the start instead of Caleb Martin and the Heat came out locking down the Nuggets in the first quarter.
Look at how genius Nikola Jokic is. He fakes the hook shot to draw Adebayo up and leave enough space underneath to lob it up to Gordon on the baseline alley oop.
After an 0/10 performance in Game 1, Max Strus was hungry to get on the board early. He had the game's first points, and wouldn't slow down after that.
We are headed to halftime from Denver and the Nuggets took control in that second quarter.
Murray came to life after going scoreless in the first quarter. He's got 8 at half, but the bench led the charge as Green, Braun and Brown put in some big minutes. Jokic has 13, 4 and 3 while Gordon has 7.
Strus leads the Heat with 14, Vincent has 12 and Butler has 11.
Adebayo hits the catch and release jumper in the lane for 6 first half points and that's how the first half will end.
Jokic with a touch pass to Gordon for the alley oop on the baseline!
Impossible shot from Butler on the baseline with Jokic draped all over him.
KCP goes to the line for three FTs after Vincent dove for the loose ball, but got there after KCP collected and jacked the three with the shot clock winding down. He hits all three FTs with 55.1 to go in the half.
Vincent wiggles to the elbow and hits the floater over Jokic 12-2 run for Miami in the last three minutes.
Butler spins on KCP and hits the short leaner off the glass.
Jokic was blocked by Adebayo, but he got it back and flipped it up and in from the lane.
KCP just bailed out Strus and the Heat by fouling Strus with 0.7 seconds on the shot clock and he hits two of three FTs.
Vincent hit the FT to complete the three point play.
Vincent strips Brown, and gets the lay up and the foul on the fast break! He'll go to the line after the Nuggets timeout with 4:19 to go in the second quarter.
Love got himself open with the pump fake and stroked the three ball from the wing!
Brown turns on the jets after the Jokic screen and races to the rack for the lay in.
Braun was trailing the fast break and Murray hit him slashing down the lane for the jam!
Green goes to the line and hits both FTs after the foul on Highsmith.
Butler comes out of the timeout with a three ball from the corner, and will that get him going? He's got just 7 points in the first half.
Murray stops on a dime, turns and hits the fader and the lead has been stretched out to 12!
Timeout Miami with 7:49 to go in the first half!
Murray with the steal and the slam AND 1 as Strus tried to make the play, but ended up getting dunked on. FT is good!
Highsmith with the offensive board and that leads to a Vincent three ball!
Gordon in the corner for three and everyone is getting a piece of the pit from outside tonight!
Adebayo turned it over out of the timeout and Braun laid it off from Murray who makes a third straight three for the Nuggets!
Gordon with the block on Martin, and that leads to a wide open three for Green in the corner and that's two straight triples for Denver!
The Nuggets lead by 4 and Miami needs a timeout with 10:12 to go in the first half.
Brown answers back with a corner three ball and the Nuggets take the lead back!
Lowry answers back with a three ball off the kick out from Martin!
Green to the line after the foul on Highsmith and he hits both FTs to give the Nuggets their first lead of the night.
Braun picked the loose ball off his shoestrings and pulled up for the mid range jumper to start the quarter for the Nuggets.
The first quarter comes to an end, and it was Miami who came out swinging first. They went up 11 thanks to a brilliant bounce back from Max Strus who has 12 points on four three pointers.
Jokic has 11 while Murray was held scoreless in that first quarter.
Green picks up the offensive rebound and Braun hung it up high off the glass to bring the Nuggets to within a basket after going down by 11 early on!
Jokic just flipped it up as it looked like he was losing control but gets the bucket to go!
Brown comes off the bench and makes an immediate impact with the lay in.
Zeller off the bench and on to the board with a lay in after the dish from Jimmy.
Jokic pulls up from the FT line with the unorthodox shot from behind his head.
Strus with the catch and release off the pass from Butler, and he's got four three balls to start the game after going 0/10 last game!
Porter Jr. drills the three ball on the catch and shoot out of the timeout!
Jokic collects at the perimeter, drives into Love and hits the runner in the lane.
Timeout Miami with 4:24 to go in the first quarter.
Butler drives baseline and hits the high arching floater over Jokic for his first FG.
Strus strings another three ball in the corner and he's got three triples already!!!
Jokic was left wide open, and Gordon found him at the top of the key for three!!
Adebayo pulls up in the lane and gets the roll on the jumper over Jokic.
Butler to the line after the foul on Murray, and he hits both FTs after not shooting a single FT in Game 1.
Gordon gets the alley oop slam after Jokic faked the hook shot and lobbed it up for Air Gordon who was streaking down the baseline.
Adebayo hits the pull up jumper and he gets his first bucket of the game after a fantastic Game 1.
Vincent lost it on one end and KCP was wide open in the corner on the other end for the three ball!
Strus was left wide open for three and he drills it in the corner for the quick triples out of the gate!
TImeout Denver not even three minutes into the game.
After 2:30 of scoreless basketball Denver goes down to Jokic who hits the turnaround lay in underneath.
Vincent skips around a defender and pulls up from the elbow for two straight buckets.
Vincent pulls the trigger from the top of the key and it's the guys that Miami need to step up, stepping up early on in Game 2.
Max Strus starts the game off with a three ball off the inbound, and how good that must feel for Strus who went 0/10 in Game 1.
GAME 2 IS UNDERWAY FROM DENVER!!!!
If it ain't broke don't fix it. Mike Malone has had the luxury of not having to mess with his starting five in this postseason. Four of the five starters had double digits by halftime in Game 1, and the fans at Ball Arena will be hoping they can get that same production from everyone tonight.
Eric Spoelstra is replacing Caleb Martin in the Starting 5 tonight. The decision might be based off his cold start to the series, but is more likely a decision brought on by the Nuggets size. Kevin Love gets the start in place of Martin as Miami tries to combat Denver's physicality.
Martin went missing
Many people thought that it should have been Caleb Martin living the MVP of the Eastern Conference Finals trophy instead of Jimmy Butler. He averaged almost 20 ppg in the series against the Celtics, and was the difference maker during the series. Last game he went just 1/7 for three points in Game 1, and if has another sluggish game like he did on Thursday night the Heat have no chance of topping the Nuggets tonight. Jimmy Butler doesn’t seem to concerned about their cold start to the series, claiming he wants them to keep shooting no matter what their FG percentage is.
Nikola not Joking around
Rarely do we see a player be able to dominate a game without even having to shoot the ball, but rarely have we seen a talent like Nikola Jokic. The Serbian took just three field goals in the entire first half of Game 1, but still went to halftime with a double double after dishing out 10 assists and scoring 10 points. He would go on to complete his 9th triple-double of the postseason, only adding to his record for most triple-doubles in a single playoff run. He is averaging a triple-double during this playoff run, and it is more than probable he reaches double digits triple-doubles before the Finals are over, he might even do it tonight.
Undefeated in Denver
The Heat came into the Finals having stunned the world over the last month and a half. They beat the top seeded Bucks, they cruised past the Knicks and held off the Celtics seemingly inevitable comeback bid in Game 7 from Boston. They are going to have to shock the world again, by doing something that hasn’t been done all postseason.
They are going to have to beat the Nuggets at Ball Arena at least once if they want to be the ones lifting the Larry O’Brien Trophy at the end of this series. The Nuggets are a perfect 9-0 in the playoffs on their home court and they haven’t lost a game in the Mile High City since late March. The series isn’t over if the Heat don’t win tonight, but they know they can blow it wide open if they can steal one in Denver tonight.
Murray the man in Mile High
Those of you who haven’t been following the Nuggets all season long have probably heard of Nikola Jokic and his insatiable ability to dominate every facet of the game, but Jamal Murray is just as important to Denver’s deep playoff run. The oversized point guard is a match up nightmare for anyone who dares try to keep him contained on the offensive end. He’s averaging 27.6 ppg, 7.6 more than his regular season average and in the last five games dating back to Game 1 of the Western Conference Final he his posting 31.2 ppg.
Calling Playoff Jimmy
How is Jimmy going to respond after laying a dud in the Game 1 of the Finals. His run in this postseason has been immaculate, and he has earned the nickname Playoff Jimmy, but if he doesn’t show up in the Finals, then that nickname might lose a bit of cache. He went just 6/14, and was really a non factor for the first three quarters of Game 1. You might be able to contain him, but you can’t keep him quiet for too long, and that’s what the Nuggets will be thinking coming into tonight. He’s averaging 27.6 points a game in the postseason, and you can bet on him at least getting back to his average tonight in Denver.
Game 1 recap
There was no rust. There were no Finals debut nerves. There were nothing of the sort. Mike Malone had every detail of Game 1 covered with a fine tooth comb for a franchise that played their first ever game in the Title series after a weeks rest. It wasn’t Nikola Jokic or even Jamal Murray who set the tone early for the Nuggets at Ball Arena. It was Aaron Gordon who exploited one of the many mismatch problems this big, physical team presents for any other team in the league. He had 12 points in the first quarter which helped the Nuggets get out to a double digit lead in early in the opening half.
Murray came to life in the second quarter, and Jokic had a double-double by halftime as Denver kept a comfortable cushion over the Heat for the rest of the game. Bam Adebayo was the only one who showed up for a Heat side that struggled from the field all game. Jimmy Butler scored just 13 points as Caleb Martin and Max Strus went a combined 1/17 from the field. The Heat shot 40% from the field, but many of those made buckets were late in the fourth quarter as the Nuggets cruised to victory.
We are live from Ball Arena
Hello everyone and welcome to Denver where the Nuggets looked as good as a team making their Finals debut has ever looked on Thursday night against the Miami Heat. They came out firing on all cylinders and Miami looked lost trying to figure how to stop the two time MVP and Jamal Murray in Game 1. Tonight Eric Spoelstra’s men have a chance to take control of the series with a win on the road before heading back home for Game 3 and 4. No one has been able to lock down Jokic up until this point of the season, but the Heat will throw everything they have at him in attempts of evening up the series at 1-1.
Heat vs. Nuggets NBA Finals Game 2
The Denver Nuggets are back at home with a chance to double their advantage over the Miami Heat and keep home court advantage after taking a 1-0 lead on Thursday night. Nikola Jokic and the Nugs have been unstoppable at home, but Jimmy Butler and the Heat are going to try steal a win in the Mile High City to even up the series and AS English will be with you all night with live coverage, stats, highlights and analysis of Game 2 from Ball Arena.