The Denver Nuggets started the first quarter of their NBA Finals matchup with the Miami Heat exactly as they had played Game 4 against the Los Angeles Lakers. They were looking to feature Aaron Gordon early and often, and he was having his way with the Heat inside. He scored 12 of the team’s first 29 points in the first quarter while shooting 6-of-8 from the field. Meanwhile, on the other end Miami’s Eastern Conference Finals hero Caleb Martin was struggling as he was 0-of-4 from the field, and the Heat were trailing by nine at the end of the first.

The second quarter started slow for the Nuggets with Nikola Jokic on the bench, but they quickly figured out some offense with the ball flowing through Jamal Murray. On the other end, Bam Adebayo was cooking for the Heat. He was leading the team with 14 points while shooting 7-of-11 from the field. As the first half was winding down, the Nuggets’ shooters finally started to come to life. In particular, Murray was cooking with 18 points, and the team was working to get everyone involved. Jokic had a double-double at the half with 10 points and 10 assists while attempting just three shots, and the Nuggets were leading 59-42 at the half while shooting 59.5 percent from the field compared to 37.5 percent from the field for the Heat.

In the third quarter, the Heat got things started on both ends of the floor, and they quickly turned it into a 10-point game with some shooters coming to life while Adebayo continued to cook. Following that early spurt, Denver started to get it rolling. Murray and Jokic were scoring pretty much every time down the floor, and the Heat were struggling to find an answer. The Heat got a couple of late baskets to fall, and they were trailing 84-63 at the end of the third. Denver was 12 minutes away from taking a 1-0 lead in the series.

The Heat started the fourth quarter on an 11-0 run in less than 3 minutes, and the Nuggets were reeling with their lead down to 10. The Nuggets answered with a run of their own coming out of the timeout to get their lead back up to 16. Over the next few minutes, the two sides were trading baskets, but the Heat did as they had done all postseason. They continued fighting and working back into the game. They were down 10 with four minutes remaining in the game, and the Nuggets couldn’t get shots to fall. Denver’s shooting woes continued, and the Heat were continuing to claw back into the game. They were within nine when Kentavious Caldwell-Pope hit a shot from just above the free-throw line to go up by 11. Over the next 90 seconds, the Heat had admitted defeat with under 30 seconds remaining by pulling their starters, and the Nuggets were up 1-0 in the series following a 104-93 victory.

Stat Leaders

Points: Nikola Jokic – 27

Assists: Jokic – 14

Rebounds: Michael Porter Jr. – 12

Player of the Game: Nikola Jokic – 27 points, 14 assists, 10 rebounds, 8-of-12 field goal, 1-of-2 3-point, 10-of-12 free throw