(CTN News) – In the NBA Finals of 2023, the Miami Heat are now losing.
As a result of a 108-95 victory over Miami at the Kaseya Center on Friday night, the Denver Nuggets have taken a commanding 3-1 lead in the series. For the first time in the franchise’s history, Denver will become NBA champions with one more victory.
At halftime, Miami led 55-51 after two even quarters. Nevertheless, the Nuggets’ collective firepower was too much for the Miami Heat to handle in the third and fourth quarters.
In the third quarter, Denver outscored Miami 31-22, and although the Miami Heat rallied in the fourth to keep the game close, Nuggets role players, especially Bruce Brown Jr., just couldn’t be stopped down the stretch.
As a team, the Miami Heat were led by Jimmy Butler’s 25 points and Bam Adebayo’s 20 points.
In addition to Kyle Lowry, Kevin Love, and Duncan Robinson adding double-digit points, their output was on the lower end (13, 12 and 12 points, respectively) compared to Denver’s role players.
Despite Nikola Jokic’s 23 points and Jamal Murray’s 15, Aaron Gordon delivered his best performance of the playoffs, scoring 27 points on 11-for-15 shooting, six rebounds, six assists, and two steals.
After coming off the bench, Brown contributed 21 points on eight of eleven shots.
This was the fourth game of the series, and Miami’s unlikely heroes from the previous series continued their poor form.
As for Max Strus, he went scoreless in 19 minutes, going 0-for-4 overall, including three missed triples as well as a 0-for-6 shooting clip (0-for-4 from three). Gabe Vincent scored just two points on 1-for-6 shooting (0-for-4 from three).
Caleb Martin added some points late in the game to reach 11 points in one of the most challenging series he has ever faced against Denver’s wings. As a result of his 12 shots, he was able to accomplish this feat.
It did not help that Denver shot 50% from deep on 14-for-28 shooting, whereas Miami managed only 8 of 25 for 32%. It was a much closer paint battle this time as Denver edged Miami 48-46, but the real difference was found beyond the arc.
In addition, the Nuggets scored 17 points off 15 Miami Heat turnovers, whereas Miami managed eight points off eight Denver errors.
If the Nuggets win and make it a 4-1 gentleman’s sweep, the series will now head back to Denver for the final game of the 2022-23 season.
As for the message the Miami Heat are taking into the game, head coach Erik Spoelstra said it is about how they will return to Florida for Game 6, a situation they have already been in this playoff season.
“We have done everything the hard way, and that will be the way we do it again,” Spoelstra said. All that we will focus on is getting this back to the 305. Once this thing gets back to Miami, things can quickly shift.”
On Monday, June 12, Game 5 will take place at 8:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.