The Miami Heat looked kind of listless in Game 1 of the NBA Finals. No, they didn’t necessarily let the Denver Nuggets walk all over them when they were on defense; instead, they had a hard time making shots, especially from three-point range.
But like BetOnline patrons have seen them do several times in the playoffs, the Heat followed that up with a big effort. On Sunday night, they returned from being fifteen points down and won a 111-108 decision to even things up.
This came despite 41 points from Nikola Jovic, who made some spectacular drives to the hoop, slow as they were. Jimmy Butler got untracked, scoring 21 points. Bam Adebayo was very aggressive, with 21 points and nine boards. And the supporting players showed up for Miami as well.
Gabe Vincent was outstanding. He actually led the Heat with 23 points and made five triples, as did Max Strus. Duncan Robinson was non-existent in Game 1, but he had ten points on Sunday and showed himself as a guy learning to attack the hoop.
Kevin Love, who did not play in Game 1, got 22 minutes in Game 2, with ten points and a +18 plus-minus; Miami was down eight points starting the fourth quarter and really got hot, scoring 36 points. That’s when Robinson scored all ten of his points.
So consider the significance here. Denver was 43-7 at home (31-18-1 ATS) in the game and had not been beaten at the Ball Arena in the playoffs. Miami cracked that wide open.
And by the way, after getting just two free throws in Game 1, the Heat went 18-for-20 from the line on Sunday night.
In the NBA Finals odds posted on Wednesday’s Game 3 in Miami, the Nuggets are the favorites:
Denver Nuggets -2.5 (-115)
Miami Heat +2.5 (-105)
Over 215.5 Points -110
Under 215.5 Points -110
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Again, Denver played with a short rotation while the starters had heavy time. Christian Braun did see 15:25 of action and was very active on the defensive end. But Jokic had almost 42 minutes, with Jamal Murray just short of 39.
We were not expecting to see Caleb Martin play Game 2 for Miami because there were published reports that he would be held out due to an “illness.” But he played, scoring three points in 21-1/2 minutes of action. Clearly, he is not full speed, although his one bucket, a triple from the corner in the fourth period, was a huge one.
There has been nothing definitive about Tyler Herro, who has been sitting out after surgery for a broken hand. Eric Spoelstra is hopeful he can be available for Game 3, but we’re far out to determine that.
Sunday’s Miami win may be looked upon by some people as a harbinger of things to come. But the oddsmakers are unmoved. The Nuggets are still -285 to win the series, while Miami is +240.
The game was able to sneak over the posted total of 216 points. If you take a look, you’ll see that these teams have played at a pretty slow and deliberate pace (86.9), so they have to be able to shoot well to get to a decent number. And on Sunday, they shot a combined 50.3% from the field and 44.4% from beyond the arc.
Not expecting something like that to be duplicated so easily, we’d be leaning toward the under.
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