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NBA Finals: Jokic sees (again) triple, Strus and Martin see blurry... Tops/flops after Game 1


Highlights: The winning ticket Jokic/Murray, the Miami shooters in check... The tops and flops after the first game of the NBA Finals, won Thursday by Denver. The Nuggets beat the Heat 104-93 in Game 1 of the Finals in Colorado. The game marked the first time since 2002 that a Finals player had a triple-double in his debut, a first since Jason Kidd with the Nets in 2002. Jimmy Butler was expected to lead, as a warrior, as an aggressor. Max Strus and Caleb Martin can't do worse on Sunday.

The winning ticket Jokic/Murray, the Miami shooters in check... The tops and flops after the first game of the NBA Finals, won Thursday by Denver.


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Jokic sees triple

What a recital by the two-time MVP... Without forcing anything, Nikola Jokic gave himself another triple-double for his debut in the finals, a first since Jason Kidd with the Nets in 2002. 27 points on 8-of-12 shooting, 10 rebounds and 14 assists to his credit. Domination all in control. At the end of the first quarter, he had only taken one shot! And for good reason, the Nuggets have long recited their basketball, with the Serbian giant in the role of the control tower. When it came to finishing the job, with the Heat back to 10 points in the final quarter, the "Joker" was not there to joke: he took responsibility and made the baskets he needed to guide his own to victory (104-93). A boss match, quite simply.

Murray innarêtable

If Jokic didn't have to force in terms of scoring, it was partly because Jamal Murray was on fire. The Denver guard scored 18 of his 26 points in the first half Thursday in Game 1 of the NBA Finals. In the end, he tightened the game with his Serbian comrade, assuming his leadership role. 10 assists and 6 rebounds for him.

Adebayo did the job, he

Without Bam Adebayo, the Heat would have sunk well before the final quarter... The Miami pivot finished with 26 points on 13-of-25 shooting Thursday in Colorado with 13 bonus rebounds. Defensively, he was the only one who could compete with the size and muscles of the Nuggets, Aaron Gordon in the lead. But Miami would have needed so much more... In any case, the pivot of 25 years was expected at the turn before this duel with Jokic. He was generally present.

NBA Finals: Jokic, Murray and the Nuggets start (very) well against Miami

Denver's collective demonstration... before the last shift

We mentioned Jokic and Murray, that's normal, but it was especially the Denver collective that shone during the first three quarters. In attack, Mike Malone's players played just on the half-court, with efficiency in transition, all with skill, vista, physicality. Defensively, they also found a way to significantly annoy a Miami team that had long remained without a solution. And there was this "loosening" of the fourth quarter, as the "Joker" lamented (see below). But before that, the basketball offered by the Nuggets was simply beautiful. Let's mention the big start of the game of Aaron Gordon (16 pts), the double-double of Michael Porter Jr (14 pts, 13 rbs) or the contribution of Bruce Brown coming off the bench (10 pts). The eight players used on Thursday brought. And to think that guys like Reggie Jackson or DeAndre Jordan didn't even come off the bench in Game 1...


Strus and Martin were not there

The good news? Max Strus and Caleb Martin can't do worse on Sunday in the second game of the series. The former committed an infamous 0/10 on shots, including 0/9 from long range. Author of a magnificent Game 7 against the Celtics, with 26 points to the key, the second converted only one of his seven attempts. Too little. In the end, Miami finished with a small 8-of-27 three-pointer. Luckily for the Heat, Gabe Vincent (19 pts), Haywood Highsmith (18 pts) and Kyle Lowry (11 pts) put their noses to the window in terms of skill. The latter notably brought the spark in the last quarter, with his two consecutive three-point shots. Note that Tyler Herro could eventually return for Game 2. It will not be a luxury, even if the interested party has not played since mid-April. Factor X?

Butler in chiaroscuro

Jimmy Butler was expected to lead the pack, as a warrior, as an aggressor. We didn't see it. The MVP of the Eastern Finals was not biting enough in Game 1, finishing with 13 points and 14 shots attempted (6/14). Above all, the former Bulls player did not cause a single free throw! In fact, Miami shot only two in this unlikely game (see elsewhere). Still, Butler will have to show his muscles and fangs on Thursday in the second inning. "We have to attack the circle much more, including me," he admitted at a press conference. Very fair.

Miami must (really) strengthen its game

A record for Miami. In the history of the NBA playoffs, not just the Finals, we have never seen a team finish with two free throws attempted. Never! The Heat did. Some players tempered after the referees. They should also look in the mirror and see the obvious: Erik Spoelstra's team only watched Denver play until the last quarter, taking too many mid-range shots, too many three-pointers, forgetting to attack the circle and attack the Nuggets, in a chair. Miami will have to be much more aggressive on Thursday in Game 2. Note that the Nuggets finished 16/20 from the penalty line. A hell of a delta between the two teams... It was Haywood Highsmith who attempted (and returned) the only two shots of this too timid Heat.

Source: lefigaro

All sports articles on 2023-06-02

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