The Denver Nuggets (66-33) are back in action tonight as they head to South Beach to take on the Miami Heat (57-45) in a pivotal Game 3. After dropping their first game at home in the playoffs, the Nuggets are looking to bounce back to regain home court advantage. For the Heat, they’ve continued to defy the expectations every single night, but they’re not sneaking up on anyone tonight.

For the Nuggets, they have to be better on both ends of the floor. On defense, their rotations and switches were sloppy, and it resulted in far too many open looks. By comparison, on offense, they have to hit the open looks that they get. They’re just 4-3 on the road in the playoffs, so it will be interesting to see how they come out of the gate in this one.

For the Heat, they’re playing with house money right now. In each of the first two games, they’ve won the fourth quarter by 10 or more points, and they have gained home court advantage with just a single road victory. They’ve done it in each of the first three rounds, and they’re setting up to do it again here in the Finals where the lights are the brightest they have been all year.

The Essentials

Who: Denver Nuggets (65-32, 23-25 away) @ Miami Heat (57-45, 32-16 home)

When: 6:30 p.m. MST

Where: Ball Arena

How to watch/listen: Denver Stiffs does not condone piracy..unless it’s the romanticized 18th-century type. AltitudeTV where available. ABC. Show up in Denver. 92.5 FM KKSE Altitude Sports Radio

Expected Starting Lineups:

MIA: PG Gabe Vincent, SG Max Strus, SF Jimmy Butler, PF Kevin Love, C Bam Adebayo

DEN: PG Jamal Murray, SG Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SF Michael Porter Jr., PF Aaron Gordon, C Nikola Jokic

Injuries: Tyler Herro (foot) OUT

Three Things to Watch

Get Shooters Going

Through the first three rounds of the playoffs, the trio of Jamal Murray, Michael Porter Jr. and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope were all shooting 39.8 percent or better from 3-point range. Through two games in the finals, they’re all shooting 33.3 percent or worse, with MPJ really lagging behind at .176 percent from behind the arc. With Miami’s shooters seemingly always getting a big shot to fall, Denver’s guys need to hold up their end.

Communication on Defense

In Game 2, the Nuggets played their worst defensive game of the entire playoffs. It wasn’t that the Heat were hitting tough shots, although some of them were, but, far too often, the Nuggets were giving up wide open looks or free runs to the rim. On screens and switches, Denver has to communicate and know their assignments. If Miami scores over you, then so be it, but they can’t get constant open looks.

Late-Game Execution

In 12 of the 20 playoff games the Heat have played so far, they’ve trailed entering the fourth quarter. They’ve gone on to win the fourth quarter in 11 of those 12 games. They’re +21 in 24 fourth-quarter minutes in the finals. In Game 2, it took them all of 110 seconds to eliminate an eight-point deficit and retake the lead. Denver has to finish strong in these games, because Miami is the zombie that doesn’t die. Until that final buzzer sounds, they’re still coming after you, so you can’t stop fighting until it’s over.