Denver Nuggets 2023 NBA championship parade highlights:
The Heat tied the NBA Finals and had to overcome a monster 41-point effort from Nikola Jokic to do it. Gabe Vincent scored 23 points, Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo each had 21 and Heat beat the Denver Nuggets 111-108 in Game 2 on Sunday night. “Our guys are competitors,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “They love these kind of moments.” Evidently. They were down by as many as 15 points, down eight going into the fourth, and those numbers signified they were going to lose. Denver was 11-0 in these playoffs when leading by double digits at any point in a game, and 37-1 this season overall when leading by at least eight going into the fourth. – AP via ESPN.com
The Heat went up 11 early and led 26-23 at the end of the opening period. The Nuggets then went up 15 in the second period before the Heat closed within 57-51 at halftime. The Heat tied it 66-66 midway through the third quarter, but the Nuggets closed out the period on a 6-0 run to take an 83-75 lead into the fourth. – Sun Sentinel
A 3-pointer by Vincent with 10:10 to play then gave the Heat their first lead of the second half, at 86-85, as part of a 15-2 Heat run to open the fourth. “They came out in that fourth quarter with a huge sense of desperation, and we didn’t match that,” the Nuggets’ Malone said. The Heat then moved to their 107-95 lead with 3:39 to play on a Caleb Martin 3-pointer, with Denver trimming the deficit to 109-106 with 1:29 left on a basket by former University of Miami wing Bruce Brown. – Sun Sentinel
Just when you think Jimmy Butler is running on fumes, he summons enough to lift his team late. And Bam Adebayo was superb for the second game in a row. That helped offset 41 points by Nikola Jokic. After scoring a personal playoff-low 14 points in Game 1, Butler was again more of a facilitator than scorer through three quarters, missing all four of his shots in the third to go to the fourth with 13 points on 4-for-13 shooting. But after resting for the first four plus minutes of the fourth quarter, Butler delivered three big baskets — a three-pointer, a three-point play on a driving jumper and foul and a jumper. Butler — who closed with 21 points and 9 assists — has shot 41 percent and averaged 23 points in the past 10 playoff games, compared with 32 points on 55 percent in the first nine games. He shot only 7 for 19 but 5 for 5 on free throws Sunday after not getting to the line in Game 1. And Butler leads the NBA — by far — in clutch points during these playoffs, and he keeps coming through when needed. – Miami Herald
Now, while there will be a lot of discussion about Miami‘s shooting and its unsustainability, the Nuggets did not do themselves any favors in Game 2. Denver’s defensive disposition was poor to start the game. If you kept an eye on this space after Game 1, you’ll remember I complimented Miami’s offensive process despite the team only putting up 93 points. The Heat didn’t radically change their attack Sunday, but they did take advantage of all the open looks Denver gave up. For those who had fears about Nikola Jokic’s ability to hold up defensively in the playoffs, Game 2 gave that group some ammunition. Joker’s drop coverage continued to give up good looks. Bam Adebayo had his second straight 20-point game, and was routinely picking apart the Nuggets on the short roll. While Jimmy Butler could not get going with his own offense, he was able to time and time again collapse the Denver defense and find outside shooters. – SI.com
The Miami Heat set an NBA postseason record for fewest free throw attempts in a game, going to the foul line just twice during a 104-93 loss to the Denver Nuggets in Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Thursday night. Afterward, Heat star Jimmy Butler vowed to attack the basket more heading into Game 2 on Sunday night. He didn’t hesitate when asked why the offense struggled so much to find its rhythm. – ESPN.com
“Probably because we shot a lot of jump shots, myself probably leading that pack, instead of putting pressure on the rim,” Butler said after scoring just 13 points. “Getting lay-ups, getting to the free throw line. When you look at it during the game, they all look like the right shots. “And I’m not saying that we can’t as a team make those, but got to get more layups, got to get more free throws. And whenever you miss and don’t get back, the game gets out of hand kind of quickly. We gave up too many lay-ups, which we also can’t have happen. But that’s it as a whole. We’ve got to attack the rim a lot more, myself included.” – ESPN.com
The Heat fell into an early hole against Nikola Jokic and company in large part because the open looks that Butler and his teammates made a habit of hitting earlier in the postseason just didn’t fall. Heat guard Max Strus went 0-for-10 from the field, becoming the fourth player to shoot that or worse in a Finals game, according to ESPN Stats and Information research. Caleb Martin, who carried the Heat offensively at times in the Eastern Conference finals, went 1-for-7 from the field. – ESPN.com
Miami Heat guard Tyler Herro will continue to test his surgically repaired right hand, and a return to the lineup for Game 2 of the NBA Finals against the Denver Nuggets looms as a possibility, sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski on Thursday. Herro, who had surgery to fix the third and fourth metacarpal on his right hand on April 21, will continue ramping up his workouts and try to get a sense of how the hand responds to contact before making a decision, sources told ESPN. – ESPN.com
Per the NY Times:
On Monday night at TD Garden, the Eastern Conference championship trophy for the NBA had made its way to the other team’s locker room. The trophy, a sterling silver replica of a basketball, was displayed atop a few packing trunks with metallic trim. The Miami Heat had earned it through a humbling 103-84 victory against the Boston Celtics in Game 7 of the conference finals.
Before a late-night flight to Denver, where they will play the Nuggets for the NBA title beginning Thursday, players and staff members stood in front of the trophy while wearing N.B.A. finals hats and T-shirts to commemorate the team’s heroic struggle.
Everyone except the Heat was stunned by their resurgence as the East’s No. 8 seed. Coach Erik Spoelstra stayed with his plan even though the team was struggling throughout the regular season and losing almost as frequently as they were winning. They could get better, according to Spoelstra, if they kept their attention on the tasks at hand. It consisted of getting together after discouraging defeats, watching movies, and working hard in the gym.
“I think probably people can relate to this team,” Spoelstra said. “Professional sports is just kind of a reflection sometimes of life, that things don’t always go your way. The inevitable setbacks happen, and it’s how you deal with that collectively. There’s a lot of different ways that it can go: It can sap your spirit. It can take a team down, for whatever reason.
“With this group, it’s steeled us and made us closer and made us tougher.”
The Celtics’ season came to an end in the most ideal, microcosmic way possible: they were on the cusp of something extraordinary but were unable to make the decisive step into history.
The Celtics had the appearance of a squad that should have been outstanding but never quite achieved it after their disastrous start. They were surprisingly subpar when playing the Hawks. To defeat the 76ers, they needed seven games. They lost two games at home to a Heat squad that couldn’t match their firepower, as is only natural.
On some level, it’s hard to blame the Celtics for their inability to come back from a 3-0 hole, just as it’s hard to blame them for losing the championship. After all, doing both has historically been challenging. NBA teams have attempted to come back after falling behind 3-0, but none have ever succeeded. Every year, only one squad out of 30 may claim the championship.
However, Monday’s defeat will stay with this team for a very long time, as will the Celtics’ detour from the Finals as a result of it. In recent years, the Celtics have played in a couple of those contests.
On Monday night, a rowdy and fervent TD Garden crowd was quickly quieted.
Jayson Tatum, the Celtics’ star player, collapsed to the parquet floor in agony just 34 seconds into a critical Game 7 versus the Heat.
Tatum rose to his feet and rolled his ankle on the landing while attempting to euro-step past Miami point guard Gabe Vincent.
Even though the All-NBA forward continued to play, the damage had already been done.
“I saw the video, I saw it after the game that I came down on my ankle. It’s tough, because it kind of impacted me the rest of the night,” Tatum said following Boston’s season-ending 103-84 loss to the Heat. “It swelled up and it was just frustrating that I was kind of like a shell of myself. It was tough to move. It was just frustrating, especially that [expletive] happened on the first play.”
“Just a terrible game when my team needed me most,” Brown said. “JT hurt his ankle first play of the game and you could see it swelling up on him. He couldn’t move out there. It was tough on him. My team turned to me to make plays and I came up short.”
Brown shot 8–23 overall, including 1–9 from three, for the game. Three more turnovers than assists were his. While he was in attack mode, the Celtics’ offense sputtered and was unable to produce enough open shots to catch Miami.
The 84 points Boston scored were its fewest in a postseason game.
“Offensively, it just seemed like we couldn’t hit a shot,” Brown said. “It put more pressure on our defense. We had a bunch of good looks and nothing went in. We all have to sit back and reflect on that.”