Heat win Game 2, evening the series 1-1

Alex Campbell
FiredUp Network Sports Writer


Monday, June 5, 2023

In Game 1 of the NBA Finals, the Miami Heat basically trapped Jokic whenever he caught the ball. He put up just 12 shots to go with 14 assists and the Nuggets won in dominating fashion.  
In game 2, however, the Heat came to play with a different scheme.  They allowed Jokic to get lightly contested looks in the post/high post all night, but covered all of the other Nuggets tightly.  They also made a key lineup change putting Kevin Love in to guard Aaron Gordon, so that Jimmy Butler could guard Jamal Murray.  That allowed Butler and Bam Adebayo guard the Jokic/Murray tandem so the heat didn't have to send help which made it so Michael Porter Jr, KCP, and so on aren't getting wide open threes.  And then there was the analytic battle, the math.  Late in the game, Jokic scored just about every time he caught it by the rim, but the Heat went 17/35 from deep in a stark contrast from game 1.  Gabe Vincent went 4/6 from 3, Max Strus was 4/10, Kyle Lowry and Duncan Robinson each hit 2.  Robinson, had a flashy 3 three that really sparked the 4th quarter 8-0 surge by the Heat where Robinson scored all 8.

Jimmy Butler played great on defense and well enough on offense, but still not as aggressive as we have seen him before.  He did get hot in the 4th quarter and helped the late push.  Gabe Vincent led all Heat Scores wtih 23, Bam Adebayo played great again with 21 points, 9 rebounds, and four assists. 

Nikola Jokic scored 41 points and led all Nuggets by a wide margin.  Murray had 18, Gordon scored 12, and Bruce Brown with 10 was the only other Nugget to score ten or more.  Denver is now 0-3 in the playoffs when the Joker scores 40 or more and he had only 4 assists in game 2.  But to be honest, the Nuggets offense was fine they certainly did enough to win game 2 on the offensive end.  The problem was allowing Miami to catch fire from deep.  There were a few defensive breakdowns in the first half that gave way to early 3's by Miami's shooters and allowing them to get into a rythym.  Overall the Nuggets are a better team with more talent on the roster. But if they allow Miami a bunch of clean looks from deep they'll be susceitble in this series.