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Recap: Nuggets cool off Heat, win 104-93
With Miami's shooters struggling, not even an All-Star Bam game, and a late comeback attempt could get them back in the ball game
Sticking with their starters from Game 7 Miami got off to a nice start with Jimmy Butler leading the way with Miami’s first five points.
Bam would also show some good offense, but Miami would end up trading punches with Denver going bucket for bucket. Denver’s defense early was suffocating, slowing down Miami’s role players - thankfully, their role players weren’t much better to start notwithstanding Aaron Gordon. Bam showed some strength out there scoring on some great plays and a big slam, but it seemed as if every time the Heat made an error Denver was ready to pounce. It also didn’t help that the Heat couldn’t defend or make a bucket from beyond the arc. Denver exploited Miami’s defense from three, but Miami stayed poised - falling behind by only seven.
After shooting the lights out against Boston, the Heat’s offense was ineffective shooting a baffling 20% from three and anemic 31% from the field. With no one coming to the rescue, it was Haywood Highsmith who’d take on the scoring role briefly for Miami. The Heat reserves eventually got it going, with some great passing from Kyle Lowry and some buckets by Bam.
Miami’s offensive ball movement was great, but its inability to guard the three on the other end continued to keep things out of reach. Miami slowly worked to chip back at the lead, but Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic were unmatched absolutely staggering the Heat and building a 17 point lead. The Heat offense doesn’t work when it’s shooting like this from three:
Bam continued to anchor the offense to start the second half, scoring his 20th point. Despite the national media narrative that he’d struggle offensively he absolutely turned that on its head with some really smart basketball.
The main issue was that Caleb Martin and Max Strus - both players who have been essential had no points from the field whatsoever stunting the Miami Heat offense. Between Gordon, Brown, Murray, Jokic and others shooting the lights out Miami’s effort was just not enough. Denver continued to roll to a 24 point lead with little answers from the Heat, except for some questionable chucks from deep.
Heading into the fourth the Heat looked fairly defeated, but suddenly they came together on an 11-0 run led by Gabe Vincent and Kyle Lowry and cut the lead to 10.
With about 9 minutes to go the Heat was back in the ball game. Despite Bam, Gabe, Haywood and Jimmy attempting to capitalize on Denver’s cold stretch with some heroic buckets, Jokic was just inevitable, closing the door on a comeback attempt.
There were definitely some positives notably Bam, and Haywood’s games but the Heat came together too late in this one (it also didn’t help that they shot two free throws to Denver’s 19). On to Sunday.