4 talking points from Miami Heat’s win over Denver Nuggets in Game 2 of NBA Finals

4 talking points from Miami Heat’s win over Denver Nuggets in Game 2 of NBA Finals
Nikola Jokic #15 of the Denver Nuggets looks to pass the ball, defended by Caleb Martin #16 and Jimmy Butler #22 of the Miami Heat during Game Two of the 2023 NBA Finals. (File/AFP)
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Updated 05 June 2023

4 talking points from Miami Heat’s win over Denver Nuggets in Game 2 of NBA Finals

4 talking points from Miami Heat’s win over Denver Nuggets in Game 2 of NBA Finals
  • 4th-quarter surge helped complete comeback that leaves the series tied at 1-1

In a thrilling display of resilience, the Miami Heat mounted an impressive comeback in Game 2 of the NBA Finals against the Denver Nuggets to leave the series tied at 1-1.

Despite facing a daunting 15-point deficit and trailing by eight entering the fourth quarter, the Heat showcased their unwavering determination and refusal to accept defeat, securing a hard-fought 111-108 victory on the Nuggets’ home court.

Throughout this playoff series, the Heat have consistently won at least one road game in the opening two games, giving them back home-court advantage. Here are four key factors that contributed to the Heat’s success in Game 2.

Limiting Jokic’s assists

While Nikola Jokic recorded an impressive 41 points in Game 2, a notable difference was his assist numbers. In contrast to his 14 assists in Game 1, Jokic’s assists decreased significantly to only four in Game 2. The Heat employed a strategic approach to limit Jokic’s playmaking by focusing less on double-teaming him and instead doubling other players on the court. This tactic aimed to disrupt the Nuggets’ offense, as Jokic’s assists often facilitate scoring opportunities for his teammates, boosting their confidence and involvement in the game.

Heat raining threes

The Heat’s three-point shooting proficiency played a crucial role in their remarkable comeback. With an impressive 17-for-35, or 48.6 percent, performance from beyond the arc, the Heat set a new record for the most three-pointers made in any of their NBA Finals games.

This shooting prowess not only fueled their comeback but also enabled them to establish an effective zone defense, and stopped the Nuggets’ transition game.

Strength in unity for Heat

Game 2 witnessed an outstanding display of contributions from multiple Heat players. Gabe Vincent led the charge with a game-high 23 points, including four three-pointers. Max Stus, who struggled in Game 1, rebounded with a stellar performance, hitting four three-pointers in the opening quarter and finishing with 14 points.

Jimmy Butler displayed his leadership with 21 points and nine assists, while Duncan Robinson, Kyle Lowry and Kevin Love all made significant contributions from beyond the arc. Bam Adebayo’s presence in the paint, contributing 21 points and nine rebounds, further bolstered the Heat’s success.

The Heat’s intensified aggression in Game 2 resulted in a significant increase in free-throw attempts compared to Game 1. With 20 free-throw attempts, a staggering 18 more than their previous outing, the Heat capitalized on their aggressive approach to gain momentum and seize control of the game.

Fourth-quarter surge

The Heat’s game took a decisive turn in the fourth quarter, ignited by Robinson’s scoring eruption. His consecutive eight points reduced the Nuggets’ lead to a mere two points at 85-83.

Building on this momentum, the Heat engineered a pivotal 12-0 run, propelling them to a 90-85 advantage that they defended until the final buzzer. Notably, the Heat’s bench players outscored their Nuggets counterparts by 16 points to four in the decisive final 12 minutes, while Butler’s clutch baskets further solidified their victory.

The Miami Heat’s remarkable win in Game 2 has vividly showcased their determination to compete, leading to the series now being tied. As the pressure mounts on the Denver Nuggets for Game 3, the Heat will have the advantage of playing on their home court in front of their fans, creating favorable conditions for supporting shooters to secure familiar rebounds off the rim. The series is shaping up to be even more competitive than initially anticipated.