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Nuggets outlast Heat 108-95 in Game 4, take 3-1 series lead
Heat have lost four straight at home by a combined 46 points.
The Denver Nuggets outlasted the Miami Heat 108-95 inside Kaseya Center Friday evening, taking a 3-1 series in the 2023 NBA Finals.
The Nuggets have won five straight road games; the Heat, meanwhile, have now lost four straight at home by a combined 46 points.
Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray both gave the Nuggets solid contributions, but Denver ultimately got way more production from its role players — namely Aaron Gordon and Bruce Brown — relative to Miami outside of Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo.
Gordon finished with 27 points, seven rebounds, six assists and two steals on 11-of-15 shooting, while Brown tallied 21 points on 11 shots in 30 minutes. Jokic tallied 23 points and 12 rebounds on 8-of-19 shooting.
In the second half alone, Brown and Gordon combined for 27 points on 11-of-13 shooting.
Murray had 15 points and 12 assists, becoming the first player in NBA Finals history to have 10-plus assists in a four-game Finals stretch.
The Heat, who shot 45.5 percent and 8-of-25 (32.0 percent), couldn’t get a dominant Adebayo or Butler down the stretch. And, more importantly, Miami couldn’t generate enough stops — especially in the non-Jokic minutes in the fourth quarter.
After trailing by 10 with 9:24 left, when Jokic picked up his 5th foul, Miami only finished a plus-one in the subsequent 5:15 stretch without Jokic. The Heat are now a minus-nine in such minutes this series.
Butler led Miami with 25 points, seven rebounds and seven assists on 9-of-17 shooting; Adebayo had 20 points and 11 rebounds, but posted an anemic eight turnovers.
Nobody else had more than 13 points; Kyle Lowry (13), Duncan Robinson (12), Kevin Love (12) and Caleb Martin (11) were Miami’s only other double-figure scorers.
According to Cleaning the Glass, the Nuggets posted a 118.7 offensive rating (67th percentile) to the Heat’s 104.4 offensive rating (21st percentile); the Nuggets also had an 8.8 turnover rate (92nd percentile) — half of Miami’s 16.5 TOV% (27th percentile) — and an effective field goal percentage gap of eight percentage points (58.2% to 50.0%).
If Miami can’t force enough turnovers, shoot better from deep, win the non-Jokic minutes or, most importantly, generate enough stops when it matters most — their chances are as good as none in a seven-game series, especially against this Nuggets behemoth that’s proven they’re capable of playing discipline two-way basketball for 48 minutes.
Though the Heat still has at least one more bite at the apple. All they need to do is win Game 5, which will be Monday at 8:30 p.m. inside Ball Arena, to survive another day.
But can they do it? Only time will tell.
This is a developing story. Stay tuned for updates.