DENVER (AP) – Facing a 2-0 deficit in the NBA Finals on the road in a hostile arena where no road team has won in more than two months, the Miami Heat decided to do what they’ve done all along. done after the season. ,
They found a way. against all the odds. re.
The Heat tied the NBA Finals and had to overcome Nikola Jokic’s 41-point effort to do so. Gabe Vincent scored 23 points, Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo each had 21 points as the Heat beat the Denver Nuggets 111-108 in Game 2 on Sunday night.
“Our guys are competitive,” said Heat coach Erik Spoelstra. “They love moments like this.”
They’re down 15 points, eight to fourth, and those numbers mean they’re about to lose. Denver is 11-0 in the playoffs whenever they lead by double digits in a game and is 37-1 overall this season with at least eight leads in fourth place.
He didn’t care about the heat. He outscored Denver 17–5 in the first 3:17 of the quarter, eventually scoring 12, then missed badly and had to hang on Jamal Murray’s 3-point attempt as time expired.
“It’s the final,” Adebayo said. “We took one.”
Game 3 is in Miami on Wednesday.
Max Strauss scored 14 and Duncan Robinson scored 10, all in the fourth, for the Heat, who had a large early lead and then trailed by 15 points. He had no answer for Jokic, who went 16 of 28. Floor, the last of those shots was a 4-footer with 36 seconds remaining to bring the Nuggets within three.
Denver broke free with fouls on back-to-back Miami possessions, and it paid off. Butler missed a 3-pointer, and with a chance to tie, Murray missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer.
“I balked,” said the butler, “I’m glad you missed.”
Denver lost at home for the first time since March 30 and lost 10 home playoff games for the first time this year. As he did after the Game 1 victory, Nuggets coach Michael Malone sounded the alarm after the Game 2 loss.
“Let’s talk about effort,” Malone said. « I mean, it’s the NBA Finals and we’re talking about effort. This is my biggest concern. After the first game you would have thought he was making up a story. We didn’t play well. We don’t play well. .. This is not precision. This is not the regular season. It’s the NBA Finals.
Murray had 18 points and 10 assists for Denver, while Aaron Gordon had 12 points and Bruce Brown had 11.
“He worked hard, like I said, was very disciplined,” Murray said. “It’s a loss when you get foul after foul, it’s not them hitting you, it’s you giving them open dunks or open shots. It’s hard to recover from.”
Strauss, who was 0-for-10 in Game 1, made four 3-pointers in the first quarter of Game 2. Butler’s jumper gave Miami a 21–10 lead with 4:56 remaining in the first quarter. lead any opponent Denver has made so far in these playoffs.
In an instant, it’s gone, and then some.
The Nuggets outscored Miami 32–11 over the next 9 minutes, turning a double-digit deficit into a double-digit lead with an absolute barrage of 3-pointers.
In a 70-second stretch early in the second quarter, Denver hit four 3-pointers, more points than Miami in that entire 9-minute stretch, and they came from four different players: Brown, then Jeff Green, Then Murray, then Gordon.
Boom, boom, boom and boom. Murray had five straight points to end the streak, which ended with Denver leading 44–32. Everything seemed to be going in Denver’s favor.
Miami insisted otherwise. And for the 44th time this season, the Heat have won a game by five or fewer points. None of them is bigger than this.
“When it comes to cable, we’re weirdly comfortable,” Vincent said.
Heat: Miami changed its starting lineup, with Kevin Love returning to the starting five and Caleb Martin, who missed Saturday’s practice due to illness, coming off the bench. … The Heat won their 13th playoff appearance, breaking a tie with the New York Knicks for eighth place in 1999.
Nuggets: Jokic became the 14th different player in NBA history to score at least 41 points in a Finals loss. … Denver hasn’t lost a game since May 7, four weeks ago. … Nuggets legends Alex English, LaPonzo Ellis (who actually finished his NBA career with Miami) and David Thompson were among those in attendance.
Injured Heat guard Tyler Herro went 2-on-2 on Saturday, continuing to recover from a broken hand he suffered at some point in these finals, but was not out. Herro suffered an injury in the first half of a first round game in Milwaukee. His status for Game 3 is unclear.
Commissioner Adam Silver told NBA TV before the game that now that the new collective bargaining agreement has been approved, negotiations for the next media rights deal are a priority, and how expansion talks will go after that.
Silver said he expected media contract talks to begin “next spring”. After that, the next item on the to-do list will be planning to add owners.
Silver said, “Nothing specific in mind right now.” “But I think it makes sense over time if you’re a successful organization that continues to grow. There’s no doubt there are a number of big cities in the NBA that interest us.”
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