Mike Malone did not find the key to halt the fall of his players on Sunday against the Miami of Gabe Vincent and Bam Adebayo. USA TODAY Sports via Reuters Con / Isaiah J. Downing / USA TODAY Sports via Reuters Con / Kyle Terada
Gabe Vincent’s performance, Nikola Jokic’s card, the fragile Nuggets at the end… The tops and flops of Miami’s victory in Denver (108-111) on Sunday.
Vincent, so precious
Already author of 19 points during Game 1 (Denver win 104-93), Gabe Vincent did even better on Sunday night, in Miami’s 111-108 win over Colorado. The interested party scored 23 points at 8/12 on shots, including 4/6 from three points. Add to that 3 ists and a pair of interceptions, without forgetting the impact of his points, the timing, and you have a mastercl for Gabe Vincent, ultra-valuable in the collective success of the Heat in Denver. The supposed lack of respect from observers, who see Mike Malone’s players as huge favorites in the final against his team? “I speak on behalf of the whole team saying that we don’t care. We just want our four wins“, hammered the player of 26 years after the meeting. Just like this whole team of starving people. Vincent also had enough composure to navigate between faults.
Jokic’s Unfinished Symphony
Rid of the two-man catch, Nikola Jokic had a field day scoring. Unplayable. The figures are enough to get an idea of the site: 41 points at 16/28 on shots (the last one 35”1 seconds from the end to bring his team down to -3), including 2/5 from afar, 7/8 on shots, 11 rebounds and 4 ists. Bam Adebayo or Cody Zeller can’t go one-on-one with Jokic. It’s clear. It is not a surprise. Above all, it’s not a problem for coach Spoelstra, as long as his men do the job against the other Nuggets… Note that the Serbian double MVP has lost five balls.
Butler, Adebayo, Robinson… The Heat raise their voices at the end
Miami, king of “money-time”. Like Duncan Robinson, who scored all of his 10 points in the fourth quarter, the Floridians ped the second in the final sprint. Long too discreet, Jimmy Butler (21 pts, 9 wt) was bleeding in the “money-time”, while Bam Adebayo (21 pts, 9 wt) was still valuable. Erik Spoelstra’s choice to move into the zone at the end also paid off. All good. To note that Max Strus, voiceless during Game 1 (0/10 on shots), put the Heat on the right track with 12 points in the first quarter. So much the better because Tyler Herro is not there.
“KCP” at fault, Porter Jr was not there
Collectively, the Nuggets failed late in the game (see elsewhere). If we talk about individual performances, “KCP” and Michael Porter Jr have evolved below their level on Sunday evening. Cumulatively, they have 11 points at 3/12 and a horrible +/- of -29. The first named also ended the meeting prematurely with six faults. Mike Malone will need another contribution from his two outside players to hope to clinch the title of champion.
Denver falters at the worst time
The Nuggets extended their lead to +15 in the third quarter. They still had an 8-point lead at the start of the last 12 minutes. And they flinched. Especially defensively. Overall too lax beyond the arc (48.6% at 3 points for Miami), Colorado players conceded 36 points in the last quarter. Admittedly, this is not the first time that we have seen the Heat come back from nowhere. But Denver should have sealed the fate of this meeting. Especially with a Jokic in MVP mode… Moreover, Jamal Murray (18 pts, 10 wt) could have been in our flops given his second period. It was before planting two banderillas at three points which made it possible to revive the suspense. The interested party even had the shot to equalize at the buzzer. In the end, coach Malone did not find the key to involve everyone, while Erik Spelstra had chosen to limit the catch to two on the “Joker”.