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Heat ride 17-5 run in 4th quarter to draw even with Nuggets in NBA Finals

Staring down 2-0 in the NBA Finals as the visitors on a hostile field where no road team had won in more than two months, the Miami Heat decided to do what they had done throughout the postseason.

They found the way. Against all odds. Again.

The Heat tied the NBA Finals and had to overcome a monster 41-point effort from Nikola Jokic to do it. Gabe Vincent scored 23 points, Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo each had 21, and the Heat beat the Denver Nuggets 111-108 in Game 2 on Sunday night.

“Our guys are competitors,” said Heat coach Erik Spoelstra. “They love moments like this.”


They have dropped to 15 points, eight down in fourth place, and those figures mean they will lose. Denver was 11-0 in the playoffs when leading by at least eight going into the fourth, and 37-1 overall this season.

The Heat didn’t care. They outscored Denver 17-5 in the first 3:17 of the fourth to take the lead for good, eventually leading by 12, then fumbled most of it and had to survive Jamal Murray’s 3-point attempt as time expired.

“This is the final,” said Adebayo. “We took out one”.

Game 3 is Wednesday in Miami.

Max Struss scored 14 and Duncan Robinson 10, all in the fourth, for the Heat, who had an early lead before falling behind by 15. floor, the last of those shots a 4-footer with 36 seconds left to get the Nuggets within three.

Denver didn’t stop Miami on the ensuing possession, and it paid off. Butler missed a 3 and Murray missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer with a chance to tie it.

“I just challenged it,” Butler said. “So glad he missed out.”

“Let’s Talk About Effort”

Denver lost at home for the first time since March 30 and for the first time in 10 home playoff games this year. And just as he did after the Game 1 win, Nuggets coach Michael Malone sounded the alarm after the Game 2 loss.

“Let’s talk about effort,” Malone said. “I mean, it’s the NBA Finals, and we’re talking about effort. It is of great concern to me. You probably thought I was just making up a story after Game 1 when I said we weren’t playing well. “I’m not playing well… This is not the preseason. This is no ordinary season. It’s the NBA Finals.”

Kitchener Murray, Ont., had 18 points and 10 assists for Denver, while Aaron Gordon had 12 and Bruce Brown had 11.

They just played hard and like I said, it was more about discipline,” Murray said. “It’s a loss when you get layup after layup, and it’s not like they’re beating you, you’re giving them open dunks or open shots. It’s hard to come back from that.”

WATCH |: Kitchener, Ont., welcoming Murray.

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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 left in the opening quarter to give Miami a 21-10 lead to tie the second. lead any opponent has built in Denver so far in these playoffs.

Immediately it disappeared and then some.

The Nuggets outscored Miami 32-11 over the next 9 minutes, turning a double-digit deficit into a double-digit lead thanks to an absolute barrage of 3-pointers.

In a 70-second span early in the second quarter, Denver hit four 3-pointers, more than Miami had in that entire 9-minute stretch, and they got four different players: Brown, then Jeff Green, then Murray, then Gordon.

Boom, boom, boom and boom! Murray scored five straight points to end the flurry, and Denver led 44-32 when it was over. Things seemed to be going Denver’s way.

Miami argued otherwise. And for the 44th time this season, the Heat won a game by five points or fewer. None of them were bigger than this one.

“When it comes down to the wire,” Vincent said, “we’re strangely comfortable.

#Heat #ride #run #4th #quarter #draw #Nuggets #NBA #Finals

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