DENVER — Gabe Vincent scored 23 points, Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo each had 21, and the Miami Heat tied the NBA Finals by overcoming a monster effort from Nikola Jokic to beat the Denver Nuggets 111-108 in Game 2 on Sunday. evening.
Max Strus scored 14 and Duncan Robinson had 10 for the Heat, who had a big lead early on and then fell to 15 before reclaiming the lead in the fourth. Miami beat Denver 36-25 in the final period, erasing an eight-point deficit going into the final quarter.
And even then, they had to dig deep to finish it off.
Jokic scored 41 points and was 16 of 28 from the floor, the last of those shots a 4-footer with 36 seconds left to get the Nuggets in the three.
Denver opted not to foul on Miami’s ensuing possession. Butler missed a 3, and with a chance to tie, Jamal Murray missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer.
Murray had 18 points and 10 assists for Denver, while Aaron Gordon had 12 points and Bruce Brown scored 11.
Game 3 is Wednesday in Miami. Denver was 11-0 with a double-digit playoff lead.
Strus, who was 0 of 10 in Game 1, made four 3-pointers in the first quarter of Game 2. Butler popped in with 4:56 left in the first quarter to put Miami up 21-10, tying the second-biggest lead any opponent Denver had built so far in this playoff.
In a flash, he was gone – and then some.
The Nuggets outscored Miami 32-11 over the next 9 minutes, turning the double-digit deficit into a double-digit lead thanks to an outright 3-point play-off.
In 70 seconds at the start of the second quarter, Denver had four 3s — more points than Miami had in that entire 9-minute streak — and they came from four different players: Bruce Brown, then Jeff Green, then Murray, then Gordon. .
Boom, boom, boom and boom. Murray had five straight points to end the flurry, and Denver led 44-32 at the end. The Heat managed to close the gap to 57-51 at halftime, but the good feeling Miami had after the opening minutes was long gone.
From there, the fight was on. Miami didn’t let Denver get away – then found a way into the fourth.
Heat: Miami changed its starting lineup, with Kevin Love back in the top five and Caleb Martin – who missed practice on Saturday due to illness – coming off the bench. … The Heat earned their 13th victory of these playoffs, breaking a tie with the 1999 New York Knicks for most ever by a No. 8 seed.
Nuggets: Denver hadn’t lost a game since May 7 — four weeks ago. … Nuggets legends Alex English, LaPhonso Ellis (who actually ended his NBA career with Miami) and David Thompson were among those in attendance.
Injured Heat guard Tyler Herro went 2-for-2 on Saturday as he continues to try and come back from a broken hand at some point in these Finals – but sat out. Herro was injured in the first half of Game 1 of Round 1 at Milwaukee. His status for Game 3 is unclear.
Commissioner Adam Silver told NBA TV ahead of the game that negotiations for the next media rights deal are now a priority since the new collective bargaining agreement was ratified – and how expansion talks will come after that.
Silver said he thinks negotiations on the media deal will begin “probably next spring.” And after that, plans to add franchises will be the next item on the to-do list.
“We don’t have anything specific in mind right now,” Silver said. “But I think over time, if you’re a successful organization, it makes sense to keep growing. There’s no doubt that there are a lot of great cities that we wish we had in the NBA.
California Daily Newspapers