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Nuggets-Heat NBA Finals Game 3 Open Thread

We have a series!

2023 NBA Finals - Miami Heat v Denver Nuggets Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images

Miami Heat (1-1) vs. Denver Nuggets (1-1) - 8:30pm ET - ABC

Boosted by a 36-point fourth quarter in which they shot 11-of-16 from the field, the Miami Heat stole home court advantage in these NBA Finals with their 111-108 win in Sunday night’s Game 2. Now the series shifts to South Beach, and Denver has just a 4-3 record on the road this postseason, although they have won their last three contests away from home.

No matter the venue, I suspect the Heat will be victorious if they hit nearly half their three-pointers, as they did in going 17-of-35 from behind the arc in Game 2. Part of that success was due to massive defensive breakdowns by the Nuggets, and they will certainly have to be better in communicating switches and defensive rotations going forward. However, Miami also just unleashed some highly professional shot-making, basically what they have done to propel them throughout this entire postseason. Is it truly shot variance if it stops being quite so variable?

Kevin Love’s insertion into the starting lineup after a Game 1 DNP-CD worked out well for Erik Spoelstra. We’ll see what counters Mike Malone cooked up, and if Love can duplicate his surprisingly solid defensive effort from Game 2. The Heat should get more from Caleb Martin, who is close to 100 percent after playing Game 2 despite a non-COVID illness that saw him experience chills, body aches, and a heavy migraine.

Meanwhile, the Nuggets would presumably have to receive more production from Michael Porter Jr., who was abysmal defensively in Game 2 and has shot just 7-of-24, including 3-of-17 from three, in these Finals. The ‘make Nikola Jokic a scorer’ strategy will also be something to watch. Denver being 0-3 this postseason when Jokic scores at least 40 points at least feels like something.

We’ve had a fun Finals so far. Can the Nuggets reassert their dominance or will Heat Culture continue to rule the day? Find out and follow along here in our Game 3 open thread.

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