Heat win Game 2 to pull even with Denver at 1-1 in NBA Finals
Published on Monday, 6/5/23, at 9:59 a.m. Eastern.
Miami (58-46 straight up, 45-55-2 against the spread) rallied from an eight-point deficit in the fourth quarter to capture a 111-108 win at Denver last night in Game 2 of the NBA Finals.
The Heat won outright as an eight-point road underdog, cashing money-line tickets in the +260 to +280 range. The 219 combined points went ‘over’ the 216.5-point total on a pair of free throws from Bam Adebayo with 48.1 seconds left.
Adebayo enjoyed an outstanding performance, producing 21 points, nine rebounds, four assists and a pair of blocked shots. He made 8-of-14 field-goal attempts and all five of his free throws.
Gabe Vincent scored a team-high 23 points and had a team-best +22 plus-minus. He had two steals and dished out three assists compared to only one turnover. Vincent buried 8-of-12 FGAs, 4-of-6 launches from 3-point land and all three of his FTs.
Jimmy Butler finished with 21 points, nine assists (compared to just one turnover) and four rebounds. Duncan Robinson scored all 10 of his points in the first two minutes and 16 seconds of the fourth quarter to spark a 13-2 run to stake Miami to an 88-85 lead.
The Heat never trailed again, extending its lead to 107-95 on Caleb Martin’s corner trey off an offensive rebound and assist from Butler with 3:39 remaining.
Denver (66-33 SU, 55-44 ATS) didn’t die, though. The Nuggets answered with an 11-2 run to pull to within 109-106 on Jamal Murray’s triple with 1:09 remaining.
However, Adebayo responded with a pair of clutch free throws. Nikola Jokic hit a bucket in the paint with 35.1 ticks left to make it 111-108. When Butler missed a 3-pointer, Denver chose not to call one of its two remaining timeouts.
Murray played pick and roll with Jokic, dribbled hard to his left before hoisting a tough trey with Butler in his face. It was off the mark and Miami pulled even in the series at 1-1 by handing the Nuggets their first postseason home loss.
Jokic scored 41 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, but he had more turnovers (five) than assists (four). He hit 16-of-28 FGAs, 2-of-5 from downtown and 7-of-8 from the charity stripe. Jokic’s props for rebounds and assists went ‘under,’ while his points scored prop easily went ‘over’ late in the third quarter.
Murray had 18 points, four rebounds, one steal and 10 assists compared to just one turnover. Aaron Gordon added 12 points, seven rebounds, one blocked shot and two assists without a turnover.
Bruce Brown finished with 11 points, five boards and two steals. Jeff Green was solid in 16 minutes off the bench, scoring nine points. He hit his only shot from the field, a 3-pointer, and made all six of his FTAs.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope made two crucial errors in the second half by fouling 3-point shooters on misses. Before fouling out (and then leaving the arena without facing the media), KCP had six points, three boards, three assists, one steal and one blocked shot.
Michael Porter Jr., who also bolted without taking questions from reporters after the game, was awful. Porter had five points and six rebounds, but he was 2-of-8 on FGAs and 1-of-6 from beyond the arc. He’s in a 16-for-51 shooting slump (31.4%) in Denver’s last four games.
Denver head coach Michael Malone wasn’t happy at all in his postgame presser.
“Let’s talk about effort,” Malone said. “I mean, this is the NBA Finals and we’re talking about effort. That’s a huge concern of mine. 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.”
The series now shifts to South Florida for Wednesday’s Game 3. As of late Monday morning, most books had Denver listed as a 2.5-point road favorite with a total of 215.5. The Heat were +120 on the money line.
The adjusted series price at the Westgate SuperBook has the Nuggets as -275 ‘chalk,’ leaving Miami at +235 on the comeback.
Denver is 23-25 both SU and ATS in 48 road assignments this year. The Nuggets are 4-3 both SU and ATS in seven road games in the playoffs.
Miami is 34-17 SU and 21-27-1 ATS in 51 home games this season. The Heat have compiled a 6-2 home record both SU and ATS in the postseason.
Tyler Herro, who averaged 20.1 points, 5.4 rebounds and 4.2 assists in 67 regular-season games, might be able to return for Game 3. He’s been out since breaking his hand in Game 1 of the Heat’s opening-round series vs. Milwaukee on April 16.