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GAME PREVIEW: Heat will try to bounce back and tie series 2-2
Denver made their adjustments in game 3 and now it is Miami’s turn to respond again.
The Miami Heat lost by double figures to the Denver Nuggets 109-94 during game 3 inside the Kaseya Center. It was a rough outing for the Heat, who weren’t able to rebound, defend or knock down three’s. After starting 6-0 at home in Miami, they have lost 3 straight going back to game 4 against the Boston Celtics.
A bounce back is crucial for tonight. Going back to Denver with the series tied 2-2 rather than down 3-1 is a huge game changer.
It is indeed a “must-win” game tonight, and the confidence is still high in that Miami locker room, with Jimmy Butler speaking to media and guaranteeing a much better performance from the team tonight.
The Heat need to take Jamal Murray and Denver’s role players out of the game, and make Nikola Jokic beat them on his own. In game 2, they were successfully able to do that.
However, game 3 was a different story as Jamal Murray exploded offensively with a 30 point triple double.
Jokic is too skilled and talented to expect to shut down, but players like Murray and the rest of the Denver supporting cast can and should be contained.
Miami’s own role players need to show up tonight as well. Gabe Vincent was in foul trouble for most of game 3 and the other shooters like Max Strus, Duncan Robinson and Kyle Lowry need to do more.
Jimmy Butler has still yet to take over a game in this series. He scored the most points he has in these Finals in the last game with 28, but he was not efficient with shooting the ball. Just one single “playoff Jimmy” performance can change the narrative in this series.
It would also be nice to see coach Spoelstra make an adjustment with the back up big rotation. Cody Zeller has been questionable at best when getting his number called all postseason, but now with a guy he has to guard like Nikola Jokic it is getting harder to get away with.
Haywood Highsmith would be a smarter choice at this point, as his defensive versatility and ability to bring in a spark and effort off the bench could definitely help. If Highsmith is involved, Kevin Love would maybe be playing as the center in the minutes that Adebayo is resting on the bench.
It will be interesting to see if Spo does indeed keep the same rotation or make another one of his famous adjustments like inserting Highsmith back into the mix.
Tyler Herro was officially ruled out as well, and still isn’t cleared to play again. He is close, but the timetable for a return is yet to be known. Only other person out is Victor Oladipo.
Tonight’s game will be nationally televised on ABC.
Tyler Herro (hand) — OUT
Victor Oladipo (knee) — OUT
Probable Starters (at time of publishing):
Michael Porter Jr.
ODDS (via FanDuel)
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Tipoff: 8:30 PM EST
Radio: AM 560 Sports WQAM & The HEAT Radio Network (Jason Jackson)
Spanish Radio: WAQI 710 AM & The HEAT Spanish Radio Network (José Pañeda)
Come back to Hot Hot Hoops at game time to join our GameThread and chat about the game live with other Heat fans!
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