Denver Nuggets (1-0) vs. Miami Heat (0-1) - 8:00pm ET - ABC
No rust factor existed for the Denver Nuggets in Thursday night’s Game 1, as they rode a balanced, team-wide effort to a 104-93 win. The Nuggets had five players in double figures, led by Nikola Jokic with 27 points (on just 12 field goal attempts) and Jamal Murray with 26 points. Jokic had yet another triple-double; his 14 assists were the most ever in an NBA Finals debut.
On the other end of the court, Denver employed the Jok-a-dope strategy, content to let Bam Adebayo have all the mid-range floaters he could ever desire. Adebayo had a nice game, leading the Heat with 26 points on 13-of-25 shooting, to go along with 13 rebounds, and five assists, but that’s not going to be efficient enough basketball for Miami to keep up with the high-powered Denver offense. The Heat will hope for better shooting from the likes of Max Strus and Duncan Robinson, who combined to go 1-of-16 from the field in Game 1. They also need a more aggressive Jimmy Butler, who scored just 13 points.
Miami did seem to find some things in the fourth quarter, getting back within single digits after trailing by as many as 24 points. Sixers legend Haywood Highsmith emerged as an X-factor, scoring 12 of his 18 points in the final frame.
We’ll see if the Heat picked up anything to make this a more competitive contest in tonight’s Game 2, entering as 8.5-point underdogs, per DraftKings. Or will the consistent dominance of Denver once again carry the day? Follow along and find out here in our Game 2 open thread.