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GAME PREVIEW: Miami Heat head to Denver for Game 1 of NBA Finals
The Heat haven’t beaten the Nuggets in Denver since 2016; the team will try to change that tonight.
Yes Heat Nation, we have really made it to this point. It is officially NBA Finals game day, as the underdog 8 seed Miami Heat will take on the best team in the Western Conference Denver Nuggets. The series will open in Denver, where the Heat haven’t been able to get a win since 2016.
However, this Heat team has beaten all the statistics that were stacked against them to get this far during this playoff run. A win, or possibly two, in these first 2 games would be yet another feat that would prove a statistic wrong.
The craziest part about even talking about Miami getting to these Finals is that they almost didn’t even make the playoffs at all. They lost the first Play-In game to the Atlanta Hawks and then we’re down double digits to the Chicago Bulls at home in the second Play-In game, including losing by 3 points with around 2 minutes to go in the game.
Miami isn’t supposed to be here, but they have embraced being underdogs for years now, and this season isn’t any different.
They have taken down the 2 best overall teams in the league in the Boston Celtics and Milwaukee Bucks. Now they will try to take down the 4th best overall team in the Nuggets. This is a Heat squad that is ready to make some history.
Denver is a talented, well coached team that has a 2X MVP on their side in Nikola Jokic. They are coming off a series sweep against the LA Lakers.
As for Miami, they are coming off a dominant game 7 victory performance in Boston. The Heat have not lost a game 1 on the road yet this playoffs, and hope to keep that streak going tonight.
It is going to be rest vs momentum for this crucial game 1. As Denver sat back and patiently waited over a full extra week for the winner of the Eastern Conference to be decided.
That momentum on Miami’s side should hopefully help the supporting cast members such as Caleb Martin, Gabe Vincent and even Duncan Robinson, among others. They have all been on fire shooting the ball, and to win a game 7 and start another series right after should help keep the shooters in rhythm.
Not only is Nikola Jokic going to be a problem, but Denver has another All-NBA caliber star in Jamal Murray, who has been a serious clutch time player his whole career and especially in these playoffs.
It should be expected that Miami will try to put some length on the PG Murray, throwing defenders like Caleb Martin and Jimmy Butler on him.
Besides Tyler Herro and Victor Oladipo, there are no other injuries on Miami’s side. Gabe Vincent is off the injury report completely from his ankle sprain suffered against Boston. Jimmy Butler, who also had an ankle sprain against the New York Knicks in round 2 seems ready to go.
Butler spoke with Malika Andrews of ESPN in an exclusive interview last night where he repeatedly stated how locked in he is; with the ultimate goal of a championship trophy on his mind.
He seems like nothing is going to stand in his way, and although Butler has played very well recently, it’s been a while since he has completely gone off like how he did against the Bucks in round 1.
Hopefully a Finals matchup can help bring out another true “Playoff Jimmy” performance.
Tonight’s game will be nationally televised on ABC, with Mike Breen, Mark Jackson and Jeff Van Gundy on the call.
Tyler Herro (hand) — OUT
Victor Oladipo (knee) — OUT
Nobody listed on report (at time of publishing).
Probable Starters (at time of publishing):
Michael Porter Jr.
ODDS (via FanDuel)
Check the odds out at FanDuel!
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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