Miami Heat defeated the Denver Nuggets 111-108 in Game 2 of the NBA Finals on Sunday, tying the best-of-seven series 1-1.
Miami had an outstanding fourth quarter coming from a 83-75 deficit and outscoring the Nuggets 36-25 in the final 12 minutes. Gabe Vincent led Miami with 23 points, Bam Adebayo added 21 points and nine rebounds and Butler finished with 21 points and nine assists.
However, Denver’s Jamal Murray missed a 3-point attempt at the buzzer that could’ve forced overtime.
The series will proceed to Miami for the next two games with Game 3 on Wednesday (8:30 p.m. ET, ABC).
The Miami Heat’s performance was better than their Game 1 coming off a seven-game Eastern Conference finals series against Boston.
The Heat’s attack was much better, making more 3-pointers, shooting 20 free throws, 18 more than they did in Game 1. They also devised a good defense strategy to limit Denver’s frontal Nikola Jokic – He scored 18 of his game-high 41 points in the third quarter and was the top scorer. He also finished with just four assists.
Jokic was the talk earlier in the postseason when he broke Wilt Chamberlain’s record with his eighth triple-double of the playoffs. When the Nuggets beat Los Angeles Lakers in Game 4 of the Western Conference finals, he finished with 30 points, 14 rebounds, and 13 assists and was named the series MVP.
In Game 1 of the NBA Finals when Denver beat the Heat 104-93, Jokic finished with 27 points, 10 rebounds, and 14 assists. He didn’t make his first basket, which was also his first shot attempt, until the seconds of the first quarter.
They had 17 shots from behind the arc on 48.6% shooting, a huge leap from the 33.3% shooting in Game 1.
“They force you to have to compete at a super-high level, but you have to do it with a brain and you have to do it with discipline,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said.
The Miami Heat has won at least one game on the road in the first two games of each series this season. For the Nuggets, Sunday’s loss was the first home loss of the playoffs.