NBA Game 5 Preview: Miami Heat at Denver Nuggets

Jun 12, 2023

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Game: Miami Heat @ Denver Nuggets

Time: 8:30 p.m.

Odds: Heat +8.5, Nuggets -8.5

Total: 208.5

The Denver Nuggets are just one victory away from capturing their first NBA title as a team. The Nuggets defeated the Miami Heat 108-95 on the road on Friday to move ahead 3-1 in the best-of-seven championship series. Tonight, the Nuggets can close out the series with a win in front of their home crowd in Denver.

In addition to figuring out how to defeat the Heat once more, Denver head coach Michael Malone’s strategy over the weekend was to instruct his players to ignore all media, including social media, and to focus solely on the task at hand. There is plenty of proof that the Nuggets’ time has come for everyone outside of their inner circle. Denver has two chances in the next three games to win it all at home.

Throughout the entire playoff run, Nikola Jokic of the Nuggets has averaged almost a triple-double with 30.1 points, 13.3 rebounds, and 9.8 assists per game. In the NBA Finals, he is averaging 30.8 points, 13.5 rebounds, and 8.0 assists.

Game 5 saw Aaron Gordon score 27 points on 11-of-15 shooting, including 3-of-4 from three-point range, which may have been his best performance while wearing a Nuggets uniform.

Heat star Jimmy Butler has been slowed down defensively thanks to Gordon. Butler has averaged 21.8 points per game throughout this series.  In the last two games, he has produced more offensively. However, his rebounding and assist totals have decreased over the past two games as his scoring output has increased.

The Eastern Conference’s eighth-seeded team doesn’t appear to have enough offensive production to keep up with the Nuggets. The Heat have lost all three games of the series by double digits, but they can find solace in the fact that their lone victory, 111-108 in Game 2, came in Denver. In each of Miami’s three losses, the team was held to 95 points or fewer.

In the four games in the NBA Finals, Bam Adebayo has averaged 22.3 points and 12.5 rebounds, which is higher than his playoff averages of 17.8 points and 9.8 rebounds. Tyler Herro of the Heat is close to making a comeback from a hand injury he sustained in the first playoff game, but he hasn’t yet helped the cause, sitting on the bench after averaging 20.1 points per game during the regular season.

Denver has now beaten Miami in nine of the last ten head-to-head meetings. In those ten games, Denver has averaged 113 points per game and has won by an average margin of 11.5 points. The loss in Game 2 at home is the only home Nuggets loss in their last 12 played at Ball Arena. Despite some large point spreads, Denver has covered in five of their last six games.

Since winning the first three games of the Eastern Conference finals, the Heat have won just twice in their last eight games.

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