NBA Finals: Enthusiasm returns, defeating Nuggets in game 2


Gabe Vincent scored 23 points, Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo each had 21, and the Miami Heat earned their right to the NBA Finals by overcoming Nikola Jokic’s monster effort to beat the Denver Nuggets 111-108 in Game 2 on Sunday night.

Max Strus scored 14 points and Duncan Robinson scored 10 points for the Heat, who took an early lead, then trailed 15 points before regaining the lead in the fourth inning. Miami overcame Denver with a score of 36-25 in the final inning, closing the eight-point gap in the final inning.

And even then, they have to dig deep to get it done.

Jokic scored 41 points and was 16th out of 28 points from the ground, the last of which was a quadruped with 36 seconds remaining to knock the Nuggets down in the third round.

Denver decided not to foul in its subsequent Miami possession. Butler missed a 3, and with a chance of a draw, Jamal Murray missed a 3 on the whistle.

Murray has 18 points and 10 assists for Denver, while Aaron Gordon has 12 and Bruce Brown has 11.

Game 3 takes place on Wednesday in Miami. Denver took an 11-0 double-digit lead in the knockout stages.

Strus, who went 0 to 10 in Game 1, had four 3-pointers in the first half of Game 2. Butler made a 4:56 jump in the opening half to put Miami in the lead. ahead of 21-10, beating the second-biggest team ahead of any opponent that has built in Denver so far in these knockouts.

In the blink of an eye, it was gone — and then a number.

The Nuggets overtook Miami 32-11 over the next nine minutes, turning a double-digit deficit into a double-digit lead thanks to a sheer 3-pointer.

In a 70-second span at the start of the second half, Denver had four 3-pointers — more than Miami had in that entire nine-minute span — and they came from four different players: Bruce Brown, then Jeff Green, then Murray, then Gordon.

Boom, boom, boom and boom. Murray had five points in a row to end the explosive game, and Denver led 44-32 at halftime. The Heat managed to close the gap to 57-51 in the first half, but the good feeling Miami had after the first few minutes is long gone.

From there, the battle took place. Miami didn’t let Denver run away — then found a way in the fourth inning.


Heat: Miami changed its starting lineup, with Kevin Love returning for the opening five games and Caleb Martin – who missed Saturday’s training session due to illness – coming on from the bench. …The Heat had their 13th win in these knockouts, breaking a tie with the 1999 New York Knicks the most ever by an 8th seed.

Nuggets: Denver hasn’t lost a game since May 7 — four weeks ago. …Nuggets legends Alex English, LaPhonso Ellis (who actually ended his NBA career with Miami) and David Thompson were among those in attendance.


Injured Heat guard Tyler Herro played 2v2 on Saturday as he continued his bid to try to return after breaking his arm at some point in these finals — but still type. Herro was injured in the first half of Game 1 of Round 1 in Milwaukee. His status in Game 3 is unclear.


Commissioner Adam Silver told NBA TV before the game that negotiations over the next media rights deal are now a priority as the new Collective Bargaining Agreement has been ratified – and the talk expands what happens after that.

Silver said he thinks negotiations on the media deal will begin “in earnest probably next spring.” And then, the plan to add a franchise should be the next item on the to-do list.

“We don’t have anything specific in mind right now,” Silver said. “But I think it makes sense over time if you’re a successful organization to continue to grow. There are certainly a lot of great cities that we want to have in the NBA.”

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