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Miami stole Game 2 as Jamal Murray’s three players tied at the buzzer

Miami stole Game 2 as Jamal Murray’s three players tied at the buzzer

The Miami Heat tied the NBA Finals at one game apiece after stealing Game 2 from Denver with a furious fourth-quarter comeback to beat the Nuggets, 111-108.

It was a wild game, with Miami taking an early double-digit lead before Denver went on a 40-14 run to take control in the second quarter. In the third, the Heat got back into the game but saw Nikola Jokic put the Nuggets on his back to close out the quarter, pushing Denver to an 8-point lead heading into the fourth.

There, Miami finally took advantage of the non-Jokic minutes, with Duncan Robinson leading the effort to open the quarter by scoring 10 points in the opening 2:16 of the fourth to push Miami to a three-point lead (with a few l assist from Gabe Vincent, who had 23 points to lead the Heat in scoring).

Miami would continue to steadily grow that lead for the remainder of the quarter, and a Bam Adebayo dunk felt like an early exclamation mark on a win for Miami as they took an 11-point lead with just under five minutes left. play.

However, the Nuggets would get hot late, with a late pair of threes helping Denver to within three.

From there, Jimmy Butler would miss a three to give Denver an even chance. Murray brought the ball to the floor, as Michael Malone opted for a timeout, which was understandable until Murray had to step back to midfield and circle for a desperate shot that went wide. ended.

Malone not wanting to face the Heat defense when set and letting his stars go to work in semi-transition makes a lot of sense, but once that’s broken down, it’s hard not to wonder if they would have had to try to draw something. Either way, they now need to win a game in Miami to reclaim an advantage in this series, and they’ll need all the non-Jokic players to step in in a way they didn’t on Sunday.

Jokic scored 41 (with 11 rebounds and four assists) on 16 of 28 shooting, but the rest of the top five aside from Aaron Gordon (who is supposed to be the fifth option) struggled. Murray finished with 18 points on 7-of-15 shooting thanks to that late flurry, but they’ll need a more stable game from their second star going forward. Also of concern are the continued shooting issues of Michael Porter Jr. and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who combined to go 2 of 9 from three.

This is in stark contrast to the Heat rebounding from some shooting struggles early in Game 1 and once again knocked down nearly 50% of their three on the night as a team (17 of 35). Max Strus once again took 10 threes but this time made it four, while Vincent was 4 of 6 deep to continue his incredible playoff run and Robinson and Kyle Lowry combined to go 4 of 6 off the bench. The refrain throughout the playoffs has been “Can Miami keep shooting like this?” and, again, the answer was yes. Denver was repeatedly uncomfortable defending on-screen actions, losing shooters due to miscommunication, and unlike Game 1, they were punished for it.

Now the series shifts to Miami, where it still feels like the Heat operate with less room for error, but have also shown they can execute at a level where it doesn’t stop them from winning.

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