The Heat came out scorching with Bam, Jimmy, and Gabe all doing work, but the Nuggets were right behind them as they’d tie the game up almost immediately. The Heat showcased good ball movement and was patient in looking for high-percentage looks. This allowed them to build a quick lead on a 10-0 run. The Nuggets weren’t going anywhere, but hot shooting from Strus and 10-day contract player, Bouyea, and Gabe Vincent kept the Heat in the driver’s seat. The Heat took a 9-point lead into the second quarter.
The Heat continued their assault on the enemy paint in the second padding its lead with great play by Caleb and Bam. Denver would claw all the way back, but the Heat still looked solid as it continued hot shooting from beyond the arc. Miami is really a different-looking team when its shots are falling. With Porter Jr. and Denver finally getting their bearings, the lead would start to fluctuate often, or create lengthy ties around the 5-minute mark. Ultimately it was Denver who’d string together quality buckets to take a three-point lead into halftime.
The Nuggets continued to run up their lead to start the third, but Jimmy kept things close. The Heat looked a little more sloppy to start but regained its composure to not let things get out of control with Jimmy willing points on the board. Jimmy really was the lone bright point for the Heat in the third, despite buckets from Robinson and Bouyea. But with Denver showcasing why they’re a top team in the league, Miami found itself down double digits with about 4 minutes left in the quarter. Every time the Heat saw a little bit of daylight, Nikola Jokic would return fire and close the gap making things quite frustrating for Miami. Strus and Robinson put together a small run to get the Heat within six points heading into the fourth quarter.
Strus continued his hot shooting in the fourth scoring two consecutive buckets to give the Heat momentum. Bouyea also looked like a lock for another 10-day scoring key buckets of his own. Miami stayed within striking distance, really making it seem as if it was headed for yet another clutch finish. Gabe Vincent looked fantastic hitting some clutch buckets to keep the Heat within two possessions. Jokic had other plans scoring clutch buckets of his own to keep the Heat just short of striking distance. Jimmy missed a key bunny down the stretch that would have put the Heat in an amazing position, but Max would get fouled on a three giving the Heat another chance. Strus would boggle a miss on purpose, basically making things hopeless for the Heat, and despite a forced foul to try and save things they’d drop this one.