After several long months, the NBA Finals are here with the Denver Nuggets (65-32) beginning play at home with the Miami Heat (57-45) coming to town. The Nuggets are here for the first time in franchise history while the Heat are here for the second time in four years and the seventh time since the 2005-06 season. Denver has homecourt advantage entering the series, and they’re perfect at home thus far in the playoffs, but the Heat have won Game 1 on the road in each of their first three playoff series.

For the Nuggets, following their sweep of the Los Angeles Lakers, they’ve been resting for more than a week at this point, and they’ll be looking to pick up right where they left off. They’re first among playoff teams in offensive and net rating, and they’re playing some of the best basketball we’ve seen from them all year with Jamal Murray looking better than he has all season long.

For the Heat, despite losing their first play-in game and trailing in the fourth quarter of the second, they’ve continued to find ways to win in every series. Head coach Erik Spoelstra has constantly gotten the most out of his roster on both ends, and he has gotten to show just how good he is at adjusting no matter what the opponent throws at his squad. The Heat proved that their Finals’ birth wasn’t a fluke as they’re second in net rating entering this round.

The Essentials

Who: Denver Nuggets (65-32, 46-7 home) vs Miami Heat (57-45, 23-28 away)

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 Caleb Martin, 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

Attack the Guards

Through the first three rounds of the playoffs, the common theme for games where the Heat have struggled on defense has been with the play of opposing guards. In Games 4, 5 and 6 against the Boston Celtics, the Heat allowed Marcus Smart and Derrick White to shoot 47.9 percent from 3-point range. Their guards are exploitable, and Denver has to take advantage of that.

Use Your Size

The Heat have one of the NBA’s best centers in Bam Adebayo, but they’ve been rather small in these playoffs in terms of who has been playing in the frontcourt. Kevin Love had started 14 straight games before logging Did Not Participates in final two games of the Boston series while Cody Zeller has largely played only garbage-time minutes in the playoffs. Denver can wear out the frontcourt of the Heat with their size if they attack early and often.

Late-Game Execution

Through the first three rounds of the playoffs, I don’t know if any team has executed better than these two squads in the final minutes of close games. The Heat are first with the Nuggets in second in fourth-quarter net rating. In clutch situations, it’s the same story. The Heat are first in net rating with the Nuggets just behind them in second. If Denver has a lead, they cannot coast to end the game, because this Heat team will not stop fighting until the final horn sounds.