Disastrous fourth quarter dooms Nuggets, NBA Finals tied 1-1
Jun 4, 2023, 8:42 PM
(Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Jamal Murray had a good look at the buzzer to tie Game 2 of the NBA Finals.
It didn’t go. And now the parade plans for the Denver Nuggets are on hold.
The Miami Heat won at Ball Arena 111-108 on Sunday night, tying the series at 1-1. Things shift to Miami for Game 3 on Wednesday.
A disastrous fourth quarter doomed Denver, as they were outscored 36-25 in their first home loss of these playoffs. Nikola Jokic played out of his mind, but that wasn’t enough. The two-time MVP finished with 41 points and 11 rebounds, but got little help. It’s the first time the team has lost in the Mile High City in these playoffs, dropping their home record to 9-1.
The Nuggets were down 7-0 and 26-17, but stormed back to take a 57-51 halftime lead. Rookie Christian Braun was instant energy, both Jeff Green and Bruce Brown made shots, and Denver survived the non-Jokic minutes.
A 35-24 second quarter beatdown propelled the Nuggets, but they came out flat in the third quarter and again in the fourth and that cost them.
Miami’s been scrappy in this postseason, so Denver will need to stay sharp, but focus hasn’t been an issue thus far. Still, there’s a reason they beat Milwaukee and Boston and the Nuggets can’t fall into the same trap.
The Heat had three players score at least 20 points, with Gabe Vincent putting up 23, Jimmy Butler scoring 21 and Bam Adebayo also pouring in 21.
The Nuggets got 18 from Jamal Murray and 12 from Aaron Gordon, but that wasn’t nearly enough. Michael Porter Jr. had perhaps his worst game of the playoffs, with five points on 2-8 shooting.
It was never supposed to be easy for Denver to win their first NBA title, but Game 2 was a sobering reality they’re in for a fight. All that talk about an easy series win seems like a distant memory.