Heat Center Bam Adebayo scores 21 points in Game 2 win.
(Credit: Miami Heat)

The eighth-seeded Miami Heat facing the possibility of being down two games rallied to win Game 2 in Denver’s Ball Arena, 111-108. The Nugget’s loss was their first one since March 30, and this game was the Heat’s first win against the Nuggets since 2016. The win happened despite Nuggets center Nikola Jokic scoring 41 points, 18 of which came in the third quarter. Heat center Bam Adebayo said it best:

“This is the finals. We gutted one out.”

Adebayo is truly gutting it out as his efforts of limiting the play of Jokic paid off as the Nugget’s center was limited to four assists and committed five turnovers. Hear Jimmy Butler on their game plan to stop Jokic:

“He’s a hell of a player. He passes the ball so incredibly well. He can score the ball like he did tonight. But when you get the opportunity to turn the ball over and get out into the open floor, I feel we have to do that, and we did a decent job of that today.”

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The Heat were impressive in the fourth quarter, outscoring the Nuggets 36 -25 after trailing by as many as 15 points. The Nuggets did not call a timeout in the fourth quarter’s final seconds, and Jamal Murray missed a 3-point attempt at the buzzer that would have sent the game into overtime. The Heat, who have already beaten playoff favorites, prevailed and snatched a Game 2 win.

Game 2 played out differently than Game 1in several key areas: the Heat starting lineup changed and included Kevin Love for Caleb Martin; Love would contribute ten rebounds. Jimmy Butler guarded Jamal Murray and limited his usual production. The Heat were aggressive and pushed the transitions. Miami’s Max Strus went 0-for-10 in Game 1 but scored 14 in the win, and Duncan Robinson scored 10 points in the fourth quarter. Miami went to the line 22 times compared to two foul shots in Game 1and the Heat, once again, displayed mental toughness, was relentless in their pursuit of a victory, and as Butler has said many times, they are not listening to the noise – that they can’t win.

Jimmy Butler (22) contributes 21 points and nine assists in win over Nuggets
(Credit: Miami Heat)

Gabe Vincent, former G Leaguer, led the Heat, scoring 23 points, with Jimmy Butler adding 21 points, four rebounds, and nine assists and Adebayo contributing 21 points, nine rebounds, and four assists. Adebayo and Butler combined for 42 points on 33 shots, 13 rebounds, and 13 assists with just four turnovers.

Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra summed up his team’s efforts: “Our guys are competitors. They love these kinds of moments,” Spoelstra said.

Rounding out the Nuggets scoring in the loss, guard Jamal Murray scored 18 points with ten assists, and Aaron Gordon had 12 points and seven rebounds.

According to NBA statistics, the team that wins Game 3 wins the finals 80% of the time.

Heat guard Tyler Herro continues his efforts to return to play in the finals. Herro injured his hand in the first half of Game 1 at Milwaukee. His status for Game 3 is unknown.

The series moves to Miami’s Kaseya for games 3 and 4, with Game 3 on Wednesday on ABC.