The Denver Nuggets (23-12) end off 2022 with a win against the Miami Heat (18-18), 124-119. While the game was ugly at points, the Nuggets turned the game around in the 4th quarter and pulled out a hard fought victory. The Nuggets were led by KCP in scoring, he had 20 points and did not miss a shot all night. Jokić recorded yet another triple-double and Jamal Murray iced the game for Denver.

The Nuggets struggled to stop Tyler Herro who finished with 27 points, Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo combined for 39 points too. KCP started to really get going defensively in the 4th quarter and the Heat had no other options except for those 2. Denver played a complete game, 8 players scored 10 or more points for Denver.

First Quarter:

Both teams miss shots to start the game, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope opens things off tonight with a corner 3. Kyle Lowry gets a three of his own to go on the next possession. Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokić both knock down easy shots at the rim. The Heat have switched defenders on most possessions and it has led to Lowry on Jokić a few different times. The Heat struggled shooting to start the first, they were shooting 3-13 from the field halfway through the quarter. The Nuggets jumped out to an early lead behind an 8-2 run. The Nuggets allow 2 offensive rebounds on a single possession and Coach Malone calls a timeout. Denver had been playing rusty for a few possessions now, Aaron Gordon gave up 3 turnovers in the first.

Miami cones out of the timeout playing a strong zone defense, they are missing their backup center so small ball is Miami’s only option on the bench. Jokić checks out with Denver up by 5 points with 2 minutes remaining. Denver didn’t make a lot of shots in the first, but they assisted on 8 of the 9 baskets they made. Miami continued to shoot poorly, ending the quarter shooting 6 for 29. The Heat took 11 more shots than the Nuggets did in the first and they made 3 fewer baskets. Denver is up 23-19.

Second Quarter:

The Heat come out on fire to start the second quarter, Miami goes on a 9-3 run and they get their first lead of the game. Duncan Robinson makes 2 threes and becomes the all-time franchise leader in three-pointers made for the Miami Heat, passing Tim Hardaway. Bones Hyland kept Denver in the game though, hitting 3 three-pointers in a row and forced a Miami timeout.

Bones single-handedly gave the Nuggets the lead again after losing it momentarily. The Heat play 4 guards at the same time and the Nuggets struggle to score. Bones hits yet another three, he scored all but three points for the Nuggets until Jokić comes back on. Jokić enters the game with 7:30 to go, tie game. The Nuggets have shot 5/5 on threes this quarter after Vlatko Cancar makes one. Both teams traded baskets for a couple of minutes, but behind an emphatic 5-0 run from Cancar, Denver jumps ahead by 6. The Heat closed the quarter on a 5-2 run and go into halftime down by 3 to Denver, 60-57 at halftime.

Third Quarter: 

The Heat jump out on a 9-0 run, taking the lead by 6. A classic Coach Malone rage timeout ensues. The Nuggets just look bad on both offense and defense coming out of the break, they don’t get their first basket until almost 3 minutes into the quarter. Jokić hits a three of his own but Miami still holds the lead. Denver gives up 4 turnovers in the first 5 minutes of the quarter, both Coach Malone and Jokić are steaming. The Nuggets had lost their composure and their body language looks bad on the court at times. Denver has allowed a 20-10 run since the quarter has started, going down by as many as 9. The Nuggets have also given up 7 turnovers in just this quarter. Jokić checks out with 2:17 to go, Nuggets are down by 4. The Nuggets were able to get going a little bit to close the quarter off but still go down by 5 to start the 4th. Heat up 90-85.

Fourth Quarter: 

Jamal Murray throws a lob to DeAndre Jordan to kick things off for the 4th quarter. Denver just has no answer for Jimmy Butler, he alone scored 7 straight points for the Heat without missing a shot. Jokić enters the game after a timeout with 9 minutes to go, Denver down by 8. Bones hits a three and has now made 5 of the 6 he has taken. Jokić grabs his 10th rebound and his 10th assist for a triple-double on the same play, Nuggets are now down by 3.

Following the Heat timeout, the Nuggets force a 24-second violation. KCP makes a three and brings the deficit down to 1, he has still not missed all game. Michael Porter Jr. then gets a dunk and takes the lead, only for Herro to take the lead back for Miami. Kyle Lowry then picks up a Technical foul and Gordon takes the lead after making 2 free throws.

Aaron Gordon then gets an and-1 but missed the free throws, only for the Heat to drop the ball out of bounds after. Tyler Herro goes on a 5-0 run by himself, taking the lead back for Miami. Only for the Joker to hit his second three of the game and take the lead. KCP fouls Herro on a three, he makes all the free throws and the Heat maintain possession due to the foul being a flagrant. Jamal Murray capitalizes on being left open for three, he then draws a foul and makes both free throws, Denver is now up by 3 with 1:25 to go. Adebayo misses a shot and Jamal Murray gets a floater to go. Murray has gone on a 7-0 run by himself to put the Heat away. Adebayo makes 2 free throws but Denver holds on and wins the game.

What’s Next?:

The Nuggets have a difficult matchup to start off 2023, they will face off against the Boston Celtics on January 1st at 6:00 PM MST at Ball Arena. Both teams currently sit at the top of their respective conferences. Not only is it a matchup between two top teams in opposite conferences, but many people consider the MVP race to be between Jokić and Jayson Tatum.