Heat rains 3s in Denver, storm back to tie NBA Finals 1-1

DENVER — Gabe Vincent had 23 points, Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo had 21 each and the Miami Heat leveled the NBA Finals by overcoming a monster performance by Nikola Jokic in Game 2 on Sunday night and defeating the Denver Nuggets 111-108.

Max Strus scored 14 and Duncan Robinson 10 for the Heat, who had a big lead early on, then fell back as much as 15 points before retaking the lead in the fourth round. Miami beat Denver 36-25 in the closing stages, closing an eight-point deficit by the last frame.

And even then, they had to dig deep to finish it.

Jokic scored 41 points and was 16 of 28 off the floor, the last of those shots being a 4-foot shot with 36 seconds to go to reach the Nuggets within three minutes.

Denver chose not to foul Miami’s ensuing possession. Butler missed a 3, and when Jamal Murray had a chance to level, he missed a 3-pointer on the buzzer.

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

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

Strus, who was 0-10 in Game 1, had four 3-pointers in the first quarter of Game 2. Butler hit a jump shot with 4:56 left in the first quarter to give Miami a 21-10 lead, ending the second-highest point lead unmatched by any Denver opponent in this playoff.

In a moment it was gone – and more.

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

In a 70 second period early in the second quarter, Denver hit four 3s – more points than Miami in that entire 9-minute stretch – 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 excitement and Denver led 44-32 when it was over. The Heat managed to close the gap to 57:51 by half-time, but the good feeling Miami had after the first few minutes was long gone.

From then on the fight went on. Miami didn’t let Denver get away – but then found a way in the fourth game.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Emma Bowman

Emma Bowman is a USTimesPost U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Emma Bowman joined USTimesPost in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing emma@ustimespost.com.

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