Heat Overcome Odds, Win Game 2 In NBA Finals
Jimmy Butler and Co. needed to find a way to win Game 2 no matter what, especially with how Game 1 ended. Nikola Jokic led the Nuggets to embarrass the Eastern Conference finalists 104-93.
However, Game 2 had a different outcome, as Miami beat the Nuggets 111-108 in Game 2 on Sunday night, as the Heat escape Denver with a close win to tie the series.
The Western Conference finalists looked convincing in Game 1 but looked completely different in their Game 2 loss, as Nuggets coach Michael Malone talked about his team’s effort as “a huge concern.”
Malone followed up, “I mean, this is the NBA Finals and we’re talking about effort. You guys probably thought I was just making up some storyline after Game 1 when I said we didn’t play well. We didn’t play well. … This is not the preseason. This is not the regular season. This is the NBA Finals.”
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Jamal Murray had a chance to tie the game at the end 👀 pic.twitter.com/EMbC8pRePi
— ESPN (@espn) June 5, 2023
Other than Jokic, who contributed 41 points, no one else had over 20 points for the Nuggets. Jamal Murray was the closest with 18, as Aaron Gordon had 12 and Bruce Brown had 11 off the bench. Before this loss, Denver was undefeated (11-0) in the playoffs when they had a double-digit lead.
Murray on the loss said, “They just played hard, and like I said, it was more discipline. It’s defeating when you’re giving up mistake after mistake, and it’s not them beating you, you’re giving them open dunks or open shots. That’s tough to come back from.”
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra stated that his players “love these kinds of moments” and are “competitors,” as Miami had to outscore the Nuggets in a looming deficit that needed a team effort to overcome and survive the efforts of Jokic.
“This is the finals,” Adebayo said. “We gutted one out.”
Although there wasn’t a standout point-getter, it was a collective effort for the Heat, as there were three players that scored more than 20 points. Gary Vincent led with 23, as Butler tied Bam Adebayo with 21. Max Strus had 14 as well, with Duncan Robinson scoring ten off the bench.
In the face of an unstoppable force like Jokic, who erased Miami’s early lead, the Heat clawed their way back methodically and were able to outlast the Nuggets on their home court. At the end of the game, Butler missed a three but needed Murray to miss one as well at the buzzer for Miami to retain their lead over Denver.
The Heat recouping and thriving in chaos under pressure could flip the momentum, as they go back to Miami for Game 3 this Wednesday.
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