For a just minute or two early in the fourth quarter, it seemed possible, perhaps even probable. Nikola Jokić picked up a fifth personal foul and trudged to the bench. A double-digit deficit – the Miami Heat’s cue to spark into life throughout this unlikely playoff run – was quickly halved with a Jimmy Butler and-one.
The Heat’s Kaseya Center rose with expectation. They had seen this before; the sheer will of a Heat team that has defied conventional logic for two months. In the end though, their eighth-seeded team have met an obstacle they perhaps cannot overcome, even when tossing aside logic.
Related: A pickup truck doing ballet: Nikola Jokić is making the NBA finals his masterpiece
Jokić is the video game final boss nobody has figured out: the irresistible force and the immovable object combined. And this Denver Nuggets team, which found new and excruciating ways to hurt their opponent in Game 4 of the NBA finals, now seems insurmountable. They’re a mile high and then some.
Back-to-back convincing wins on the Heat’s home floor have given Denver a 3-1 lead with the series heading west on Monday for the first of the Nuggets’ three chances to clinch a first NBA title.
Miami gallantly chipped away for much of Game 4, scrapping for every single basket, just to remain within striking distance. Every stop on defense was a sheer labor; even more so than usual for a team that has thrived on the attritional elements of playoff basketball.
Best-of-seven series. All times EDT.
Thu 1 Jun Game 1: Nuggets 104, Heat 93
Sun 4 Jun Game 2: Heat 111, Nuggets 108
Wed 7 Jun Game 3: Nuggets 109, Heat 94
Fri 9 Jun Game 4: Nuggets 108, Heat 95
Mon 12 Jun Game 5: Heat at Nuggets, 8.30pm (ABC)
Thu 15 Jun Game 6: Nuggets at Heat, 8.30pm (ABC) *
Sun 18 Jun Game 7: Heat at Nuggets, 8pm (ABC) *
* if necessary
But the monolithic Serb’s ability to reignite and renew his team proved too effective. Even with his own offense stifled and inefficient at the rim, Jokić delivered Curry-range three pointers, mood-shifting defensive strips and incisive passes few others see, let alone execute.
How do you solve a problem like Jokić?…
Source link : https://sports.yahoo.com/miami-resilient-underdogs-joki-nuggets-142106703.html?src=rss
Author : The Guardian
Publish date : 2023-06-10 14:21:06
Copyright for syndicated content belongs to the linked Source.