MIAMI — The Heat are on the NBA Finals stage because they are relentless. They never quit when things got hard in the postseason, they would just up their intensity and pressure their opponent.
When they cranked up that pressure on the teams with the two best regular season records in the NBA — the Bucks and Celtics — those teams melted. Miami was left standing.
Denver will not melt. They will not beat themselves.
If anything, the Nuggets are putting the pressure back on the Heat, which is why they are up 3-1 and in command of these NBA Finals after an impressive Game 4 win. The Nuggets withstood more than five minutes in the fourth quarter without their two-time MVP (due to foul trouble) and didn’t miss a beat.
It feels like Game 5 in Denver could be a coronation of Jokić and the Nuggets. Here are the three reasons we got to this point, with the Nuggets in command of these NBA Finals.
1) Miami can’t score enough to hang with Denver
The Heat were always going to have to put up a lot of points to keep pace in this series — the Nuggets had a top-five offense in the league this season led by a two-time MVP. They were not going to be shut down by anyone and had just come off having an impressive 118 offensive rating against the best defense in the NBA after the All-Star break in the Lakers. Maybe Maimi could slow Denver some, but the Heat were going to have to put up offensive numbers like they did against the Celtics.
Through four Finals games, the Miami Heat have a 109.5 offensive rating. That is 3.8 behind their unimpressive regular season offense (25th in the league) and 9.2 below what they did against Boston. The Nuggets’ length across the board is clearly bothering Heat shooters inside the paint and out at the arc.
Outside of the fourth quarter of Game 2, nothing has worked the way the Heat wanted on offense. In Game 4, the emphasis was on playing downhill and getting to the rim, maybe getting Jokić in foul trouble.
“[Coach Spoelstra] definitely made it an emphasis to attack the rim, to really get to the rim, me and Jimmy, everybody included, really get downhill and make things happen,” Bam…
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Author : NBC Sports
Publish date : 2023-06-10 12:27:23
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