The Miami Heat were scorching hot beyond the arc and tied the NBA Finals 1-1 with an impressive win in Denver.
The Denver Nuggets’ comfortable Game 1 victory had a lot of folks writing off the 8-seed Miami Heat. Well, now we’ve got ourselves a series. The Heat outlasted Denver, 111-108, in Game 2 behind an impressive collective performance from the supporting cast.
Nikola Jokic had his way with the Heat defense and scored 41 points, but it wasn’t enough to overcome Miami’s 3-point shooting. The Heat were 17-of-35 from long range, led by Gabe Vincent (4-of-6) and Max Strus (4-of-10).
The Heat have been the scrappy underdogs in every series so far. The Nuggets’ powerful offense outstrips Miami across the board on paper. But the game isn’t played on paper, and the Heat have proven themselves to be capable of emphatic clutch shooting performances during this run.
Naturally, NBA Twitter was abuzz following the Heat’s gutsy win.
Best tweets and memes from Heat’s Game 2 win over Nuggets in NBA Finals
The series will now shift to Miami for Game 3 and the Heat — the No. 8-seed, 44-win, poor-regular-season-shooting Miami Heat — have home-court advantage. Jimmy Butler continues to struggle in the wake of the ankle injury he suffered in round two against the Knicks, but it doesn’t matter with the supporting cast shooting the lights out like this. Duncan Robinson was out of the rotation a month ago!
Butler went 7-of-19 from the field, Caleb Martin was sick and limited, the Heat didn’t have a center big enough to bother Jokic, and none of that mattered.
Erik Spoelstra will rightfully receive a lot of credit for his creativity and adaptability on the sidelines.
Meanwhile, the Nuggets will hope the Heat are just a little bit cooler back in Miami.
Despite the Heat making every 3, Jamal Murray had a chance to tie the game on the final possession. The Nuggets were in the lead for long stretches of this game and Denver is still the heavy favorite moving forward in this series.
But, the Celtics were also favorites at one point. So were the Knicks. And the Bucks. That doesn’t really phase this Heat team and it’s probably time to accept that Miami won’t always follow the path of logic. Whether it’s great coaching, that mystic “Heat Culture,” or just good old-fashioned bucket-getting, the Heat are more than capable of making this series a competitive one.