Caleb Martin, Duncan Robinson, Max Strus and Gabe Vincent were not chosen by any team when they reached the age of being selected for the NBA. They were left out of the draft and had to fight their way. This Sunday, those despised players have been decisive to surprise in Denver, rebel against the dictatorship of the Serbian Nikola Jokić (another undervalued player in his day) and match the NBA finals.
Miami's win came after rallying from a 15-point lead by the Nuggets well into the second quarter. The lead was still 8 points at the beginning of the fourth quarter in which the Heat have crushed their rivals with a 25-36.
Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo, the stars of the team, have added 21 points each, but Miami's leading scorer has been Vincent, with 23 points, and the contribution of Strus, Robinson and Martin has been vital in different phases of the game. In the Nuggets, Jokić has scored 41 points, but Murray has been irregular and has stayed at 18.
Marksmanship from the 3-point line has decided the match. Miami has made 17 of 35 three-pointers attempted, while Denver has 11 of 28.
The Miami players came out ready to surprise. Thanks to the aim of Max Strus from the line of 3 they escaped very soon and took an advantage of 11 points (10-21) when they were seven minutes of the first quarter. In the remaining 5 minutes, however, the locals managed a partial of 13-5 from the hand of Jokić and Miami reached the end of the first quarter with only 3 points of advantage.
In a game of alternatives, the second quarter was symmetrical: the opposite of the first. The inertia that the Nuggets had was maintained even in the first minutes, when Jokić was not on the court. Jamal Murray, who had gone blank in the first set, took over. The Denver team went ahead for the first time and started flying. They came to be placed 50-35, with just over five minutes left before the break. They had rallied 11 points and gained 15 advantages. It looked like they were going to solve the match on the fast track. But just as they reacted in the first quarter, Miami did it in the second, thanks mainly to Gabe Vincent and Jimmy Butler and in the last stretch they cut 9 points away.
The first half of the game was settled with a 57-51 in favor of the locals and with two wonderful assists from Jokić to Aaron Gordon, the most dazzling details of each quarter. In the first, a shot after a reverse was transformed into an alley oop. The second assist after controlling the ball with the palm of his hand left many speechless at the Ball Arena in Denver.
In the third quarter, Miami came out slightly better and tied at 66. Then, everyone seemed stuck except the Serbian pivot. Jokić scored 18 of his team's 26 points in that half. Thanks to that, the Nuggets prevailed 26-24 in the third quarter and reached the final with an 83-75 that left the game open.
Miami, however, rebelled at the start of the decisive stretch. In less than two minutes it had already led 86-85 thanks mainly to three three-pointers. They extended the lead with four near-consecutive three-point plays, two of them by Jimmy Butler. There were 3:39 left and Miami led 95-107. However, Denver did not throw in the towel and with a partial 11-2 left the game at a distance of only three points (106-109) with less than a minute left. Adebayo hit two free throws, Jokic got closer to three, but Jamal Murray missed the final three-pointer.
Poetry in motion. https://t.co/pyu3v1sDAJ pic.twitter.com/RwtTZdboIh
— NBA (@NBA) June 5, 2023
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