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Miami Heat versus Denver Nuggets: Nuggets rank last in one defensive category

Odds favor Nuggets at home, but can Heat go against the spread?

NBA: Preseason-San Antonio Spurs at Miami Heat Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Last season Miami Heat lost to the Denver Nuggets twice, 103-99 and 103-87, in low-scoring affairs that favor the Nuggets.

However the Nuggets rank dead last in one defensive category the Heat might exploit, 2FG% with 18-15 sec remaining on the shot clock.

The difference between Nikola Jokic and Mason Plumblee getting set on defense is huge, because opposition teams shoot an EFG% of 66% with 15-18 seconds left on the shot clock, versus 26% with 0-4 seconds remaining.

Of note, the Nuggets’ Plumblee fouled out after only 15 minutes in the Nuggets 107-122 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans only win of the season.

In other words Denver’s bigs have trouble against their faster counterparts around the rim.

On another touchy subject, Nokic and Jamal Murray lead Denver in touches by a large margin, i.e. having other players handle the rock may lead to confusion and indecisiveness by the Nuggets.

Nokic may be an All-Star and Murray a candidate, negating running sets on offense through them could limit whatever scoring punch Denver posseses.

With Derrick Jones Jr. and Justise Winslow possibly available for tonight’s contest, the Heat have a chance to run Denver out of the building like New Orleans did.

Winslow excels in post-ups with 1.33 points per touch, albeit only 3 touches, when he can bully smaller players like Ja Morant - definitely a match-up to exploit when available.

The Nuggets love winning games by a score of 91-87 because of the Jokic factor, yet hopefully Erik Spoelstra won’t allow that to happen before Miami’s back-to-back games versus the Phoenix Suns and Los Angeles Lakers.