Miami prepares to host Game 3 of the NBA Finals tonight on the heels of a comeback victory against Denver on Sunday in what has become their calling card during the postseason. According to ESPN’s Paul Hembekides, the Heat are being outscored during each of the first three quarters in the playoffs but have a +90 point differential in the fourth quarter.
They added to that total in Game 2 while winning the fourth 36-25 and hit 15+ three-pointers for the eighth time this postseason, second only to Boston with ten. Before that defeat, Denver had not lost at home since March 30, a span of 11 games in which they successfully defended home court.
Nikola Jokic scored 41 points, his fourth career playoff game with 40+. The Nuggets are 0-4 in those matchups, including 0-3 this year. Miami’s deviation from sending doubles at the smooth-passing big man forced him to lead the way for Denver, limiting opportunities for Jamal Murray, Michael Porter Jr., and others.
The Heat are 2.5-point underdogs in their building, where they are 6-2 during this postseason run with a +66 point differential. Denver still holds a significant lead in the odds to win the series, and DraftKings is offering the Nuggets at -275 to capture that elusive first title.
According to a DraftKings Nation piece, teams that have won Game 3 in an NBA Finals to break a 1-1 tie have gone on to win the series 80% of the time.
Our Game 2 plays finished 2-1 with Murray and Bam Adebayo’s props cashing and Jimmy Butler representing the loss. We look to continue that progress at the Kaseya Center in Miami tonight.
Jokic has had six single-digit assist performances in the 2022-23 postseason, a stark difference from the six career double-digit dime playoff games he posted from 2019-22. .
In those six games with lower totals this season, Jokic has bounced back with 10+ assists in the next game four times, including in each series before the Finals.
Erik Spoelstra orchestrated a masterful defensive scheme in Game 2 to contain the two-time MVP to his fewest playoff assists since last year’s Western Conference Finals, and we are interested in seeing if that’s something the Heat can duplicate on Wednesday.
Vincent will primarily accomplish this via his scoring output but don’t overlook his other contributions to the Heat’s recent victory efforts.
He’s emerged alongside Caleb Martin as a proven playoff performer, shooting 41.3% from beyond the arc, leading the team with 2.6 made three-pointers per game, and averaging a combined 5.5 rebounds and assists in 19 appearances this postseason.
Between the Eastern Conference Finals and the first two games of this series, Vincent has posted a per-game average of 17.1 points, 1.8 rebounds, and 2.6 assists. We expect him to factor into Miami’s efforts again tonight.
Strus had a bounce-back performance in Game 2, connecting on four of ten three-pointers after an 0-for-9 result in the series opener.
Nineteen attempts in two games over just 50 minutes of floor time is a noticeable increase from the Eastern Conference Finals, where he played 200 minutes and took only 38 long-range attempts.
That cannot be an accident with Spoelstra at the helm in Miami. We look for Strus to keep firing tonight and liven up the home crowd in an all-important Game 3.