The first quarter of Game 2 between the Miami Heat and the Denver Nuggets belonged squarely to Max Strus. After shooting 0-9 from 3-point range in Game 1, he shot 4-of-7 from downtown in the first quarter alone. The Heat led by as many as 11 in the quarter, and the Nuggets were struggling to hit shots from downtown with any regularity. The Nuggets made a surge late in the quarter, and they were able to make it a 3-point game with a score of 26-23.

After dealing with inconsistent offense in the first quarter, the Nuggets’ second unit got things rolling in the second quarter, and they started nailing nearly every shot they put up. The Nuggets led by as many as 15 in the quarter, and they outscored the Heat by nine in the quarter with each member of the bench being +14 or better in the period. Denver was leading 57-51 at the half.

To start the third quarter, it was very similar to the first quarter with everything going the way of Miami while the Nuggets couldn’t get anything to go their way. After leading by six, the game was tied at 64 less than three minutes into the quarter. Throughout the third quarter, the Heat just looked like they wanted it more than Denver, especially on the defensive end. Additionally, every time the Nuggets would get a shot to fall, the Heat would answer with a run-killing 3-pointer. Miami was 12-of-26 from 3-point range through three quarters, but a strong finish from Nikola Jokic, who had 18 of his 31 points in the third quarter, had the Nuggets leading 83-75 heading into the final quarter.

With Jokic on the bench to start the fourth, Denver got a couple of free throws out of Jeff Green, but Duncan Robinson had scored eight points to start the quarter, and the Denver lead was down to two in just over 60 seconds. Less than 60 seconds later, the Nuggets were trailing by three, and they couldn’t get anything going on either end. The Nuggets came out of the timeout with calls going against them and struggling to have anyone outside of Jokic finding a way to score. The Heat lead was up to five, and the Nuggets cut into it briefly, but Jimmy Butler quickly answered with a triple to make it a six-point game.

Denver was trailing by seven with six minutes to play, and they were to the point of the game where they had to get stops to get back into this game. Down by five, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope committed a foul against Kyle Lowry who was shooting a deep 3-point shot, and that gave him three free points at the line. The Heat were hitting just about every shot they were putting up, and they were getting every single bounce to go their way. Triples from Jamal Murray and Aaron Gordon had the Nuggets within six with two minutes remaining in the game. With 1:09 remaining, Murray hit another 3-pointer, and the Nuggets were within three. KCP fouled out with 48.3 remaining, and Bam Adebayo made him pay with both free throws at the stripe.

Stat Leaders

Points: Nikola Jokic – 41

Assists: Jamal Murray – 10

Rebounds: Jokic – 11

Player of the Game: Nikola Jokic – 41 points, 4 assists, 11 rebounds, 16-of-28 field goal, 2-of-5 3-point, 7-of-8 free throw