Miami Heat’s fourth-quarter rally stuns the Denver Nuggets in Game 2 of the NBA Finals | nba finals

Gabe Vincent scored 23 points, Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo each had 21 and the Miami Heat evened the NBA Finals by overcoming a monstrous effort from Nikola Jokic to beat the Denver Nuggets 111-108 in Game 2 Sunday night.

Max Strus scored 14 and Duncan Robinson had 10 for the Heat, who had a huge early lead, then trailed as low as 15 before regaining the lead in the fourth. Miami outscored Denver 36-25 in the final period, erasing an eight-point deficit going into the final frame.

And even then, they had to try really hard to finish off Denver.

Jokic scored 41 points and went 16 of 28 from the floor, the last of those shots from 4 feet with 36 seconds remaining to bring the Nuggets within three. Denver elected to take no fouls on Miami’s next possession. Butler missed a 3-pointer, and with a chance to tie, Jamal Murray missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer.

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Fast guide

nba finals 2023



Best of seven series. All times EDT.

Thu Jun 1 Game 1: Nuggets 104, Heat 93

sun jun 4 Game 2: Heat 111, Nuggets 108

Wed Jun 7 Game 3: Nuggets on Heat, 8:30 p.m. (ABC)

fri jun 9 Game 4: Nuggets on Heat, 8:30 p.m. (ABC)

Mon 12 June Game 5: Heat at Nuggets, 8:30 p.m. (ABC) *

Thu Jun 15 Game 6: Nuggets on Heat, 8:30 p.m. (ABC) *

sun jun 18 Game 7: Heat at Nuggets, 8pm (ABC)*

* if necessary

Thank you for your comments.

“Our guys love to compete,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said after the game. “They love to expose themselves in those moments of truth.”

Spoelstra singled out Vincent for praise. “He is a special guy. He really is,” he said of Vincent, who went undrafted out of college but has been terrific in the playoffs this year.

Murray had 18 points and 10 assists for Denver, while Aaron Gordon had 12 points and Bruce Brown scored 11. Jokic had four assists, significantly fewer than the 14 he had in Game 1.

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Nuggets coach Michael Malone said after the game that he had not been impressed by the performances of some of his players.

“This is the NBA Finals and we are talking about effort,” he said. “That is a big concern of mine. They probably thought I was making up some kind of story after Game 1 when I said we didn’t play well, but we didn’t play well. This is not the preseason or the regular season, this is the NBA Finals… Miami came here and beat us.”

Game 3 is Wednesday in Miami. Denver had been 11-0 with a double-digit lead in the playoffs.

Strus, who was 0-for-10 in Game 1, hit four 3-pointers in the first quarter of Game 2. Butler made a jumper with 4:56 remaining in the first quarter to put Miami up 21-10, tying the second. biggest lead any opponent had built in Denver thus far in these playoffs.

In an instant, it was gone, and then some.

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The Nuggets outscored Miami 32-11 in the next nine minutes, turning a double-digit deficit into a double-digit lead thanks to an outright barrage of three-pointers.

In a span of 70 seconds early in the second quarter, Denver hit four 3-pointers, more points than Miami had in that entire nine-minute stretch, and they came from four different players: Bruce Brown, then Jeff Green, then Murray, then Gordon. Murray scored five straight points to end the streak, and Denver led 44-32 when it ended. The Heat managed to close the gap to 57-51 at the half, but whatever good feeling Miami had after the first few minutes was gone.

From there, the fight was on. Miami didn’t let Denver get away and then found a way to clinch the win in the fourth.

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