The Denver Nuggets took complete control in Game 1 of the NBA Finals against the Miami Heat, thanks to the 25+ point performances from Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray. From the opening seconds of the game, Denver came out on fire and at one point held a 24-point lead over the Heat. Despite receiving over a week of rest from the Western Conference finals, Denver didn’t look the least bit rusty Thursday night. For Miami, the hot shooting it rode for most of the postseason significantly cooled off, and now the Heat will have to go back to the drawing board to figure out how to beat a Nuggets team that looks unstoppable.
Ahead of the action, here’s all you need to know for Sunday’s Game 2:
- Date: Sunday, June 4 | Time: 8 p.m. ET
- Location: Ball Arena — Denver
- TV channel: ABC | Live stream: fubo (try for free)
- Odds: Nuggets -8.5; O/U 214.5 (via Caesars Sportsbook)
Nuggets: If there was concern about how the supporting cast around Jokic would perform in the NBA Finals, those thoughts were quickly put to rest Thursday night. Four of Denver’s five starters scored in double figures, with Aaron Gordon having an immediate impact in the first quarter after Miami’s game plan to essentially ignore him on offense backfired. Even Bruce Brown put up 10 points off the bench to add to Denver’s offensive firepower. Aside from the supporting cast, Jokic once again proved why he’s so dominant with a triple-double that looked far too easy for the Serbian big man. He was supremely efficient in scoring, found his teammates in the right spot and corralled rebounds to lead his team to their first NBA Finals win. If the Nuggets continue to play like they did in Game 1, this could be a very quick series.
Heat: Call it tiredness or a result of the elevation in Denver, but Miami just looked outmatched in Game 1. Yes, the team struggled mightily to knock down 3s, making them at just a 33.3% clip, and while the team was getting open looks, if that shot isn’t falling Miami’s game plan is in jeopardy. Bam Adebayo had a standout game, and that was one of the silver linings for the Heat, but if Max Strus, Duncan Robinson and Caleb Martin are going to combine for six points, this team is in serious trouble. The bright side is that we’ve seen this Heat team respond positively to a poor shooting game, so if those shots start to fall this could be a far closer affair in Game 2. However, while the offense may solve itself out, especially if Tyler Herro eventually returns, that doesn’t address the fact that this team basically has no one to adequately guard Jokic.
The Nuggets steamrolled over the Heat, and their size advantage proved to be too much to overcome. I do think the Heat start making some of the shots they were missing in Game 1, but I don’t think it’ll be enough to match a Denver team that lacks many weaknesses. Pick: Nuggets -8.5