By Eurohoops team/ email@example.com
The Miani 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 got the 111-108 road win in Game 2.
“Our guys are competitors,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “They love these kind of moments.”
The Heat were down by as many as 15 points, down eight going into the fourth. 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.
The Heat didn’t care. They outscored Denver 17-5 in the first 3:17 of the fourth to take the lead for good, eventually went up by 12, then frittered most of it away and had to survive a 3-point try by Jamal Murray as time expired.
“This is the finals,” Adebayo said. “We gutted one out.”
Max Strus scored 14 and Duncan Robinson had 10 — all of them in the fourth — for the Heat, who had a big early lead, then got down by as many as 15.
They had no answers for Jokic, who was 16 of 28 from the floor, the last of those shots a 4-footer with 36 seconds left to get the Nuggets within three.
Denver elected not to foul on the ensuing Miami possession. Butler missed a three, and with a chance to tie, Murray also missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer.
Denver lost at home for the first time since March 30, and for the first time in 10 home playoff games this year.
Murray had 18 points and 10 assists for Denver, while Aaron Gordon had 12 points and Bruce Brown scored 11.
“They just played hard, and like I said, it was more discipline,” Murray said. “It’s defeating when you’re giving up mistake after mistake, and it’s not them beating you, you’re giving them open dunks or open shots. That’s tough to come back from.”