While South Florida is basking in the reality of seeing two of their teams playing for championships at the same time, the franchises are going on different paths after two games in their respective series. The Florida Panthers seem to be running out of gas, as well as a bit too ornery, while the Miami Heat are doing quite well, heading back to their home court at 1-1 in this year's NBA Finals. This is the Heat's first Finals appearance in three years, but Game Three will be the first Finals game in Miami since 2014, as the 2020 Finals was played in the Orlando bubble.
As for the Denver Nuggets, they are coming off their first home loss of this year's playoffs, and they would need a good start to set the pace for Game Three on the road. After 12 minutes, it was dead even--24-24. That's a good start for Denver, considering that they're the road team. The second quarter was pretty close as well, but it went a bit better for the Nuggets, as they took a five point lead at the half. The leader of the first half was Jamal Murray, who had 20 points heading to the break.
The second half ended up being all Nuggets. They absolutely stymied the home team in the third quarter, outscoring the Heat by nine points and racking up a double-digit lead that they managed to maintain for most of the rest of the way. Denver's lead was 14 after three quarters, and honestly, it was done by that point. ABC actually replayed Game Six from 2013, the comeback led by Ray Allen that ended with the Heat winning in overtime. Don't know why they played it, I guess it was for kicks, but we would see no comeback here. The Nuggets would go on to take Game Three by a score of 109-94.
For the Nuggets, while the first half belonged to Jamal Murray, the second half belonged to Nikola Jokic. Jokic ended up finishing with 32 points, 21 rebounds, and 10 assists--the first 30-20-10 game in NBA Finals history. Murray ended up being the lead scorer with 34 points, but he would have 10 assists and 10 rebounds as well. As for the home team, Jimmy Butler led the way with 28 points, and Bam Adebayo had 22 points and 17 rebounds. However, that was basically it for the Heat. Denver had three players with a double-double, and two of the three had triple-doubles. Miami only had two players crack 20 points, and only one of them had a double-double. That just won't do.
So Denver has regained their lead in the Finals, going up 2-1 and moving just two wins away from their first-ever NBA Championship. In my Game One recap, I stated that the Game One winner would go on to win the Finals nearly 70% of the time. When the Finals is 1-1, the winner of Game Three wins the series 80% of the time. Yet last year, the Boston Celtics won Game Three to go up 2-1, but ended up losing the next three games. The law of averages and percentages is on the Nuggets' side, but it will be tough. Game Four is Friday night in Miami, and this game will tell the tale. The Heat can even things up heading back to Denver, while also earning one last home game of this season. As for the Nuggets, another road win would pretty much seal it, and Game Five could be the setting for a big time celebration.
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Very well written. Keep up the good work!
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