For the first time in the playoffs, the Miami Heat lost the first game of its series on Thursday in Denver. The Nuggets prevailed 104-93 and took the lead in the NBA Finals.
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Jimmy Butler’s gang was trying to become the first team in league history to win four No. 1 away games in a single year.
The Nuggets, however, stuck to their game plan in front of their fans, despite a 10-day break since their last meeting, and muzzled Butler, limiting him to 13 small points.
The Canadian Jamal Murray, for his part, did not give up. He had 26 points to extend his game streak with at least 25 points in sixes, his longest such career streak.
His great accomplice Nikola Jokic also understood the importance of the mission, during the first duel in the history of the Nuggets in the final. He had another triple-doubleーhis ninth of the playoffsー, collecting 27 points, 14 assists and 10 rebounds.
The Heat put almost all of their eggs in one basket, mostly aiming for the perimeter basket and very rarely attacking the bottle. The proof: the Florida team was entitled to only two free throws during the entire meeting, the lowest total in NBA history for a playoff game.
The Nuggets, on the other hand, gave the visitors headaches with their diverse offense. They won the first three quarters, building a 21-point lead heading into the final engagement.
In a losing cause, Bam Adebayo was the Heat’s brightest star, picking up 26 points and 13 rebounds.
Michael Porter Jr., Jokic and Murray all spent over 40 minutes on the court for the Nuggets.
Game 2 of the Finals is Sunday, once again in Denver.