The Heat advanced to the NBA Finals with an easy game 7 victory in Boston, and they now travel to Denver for game 1 of the series on Thursday. The game begins at 8:30 p.m. EDT at Denver’s Ball Arena.
The latest Injury Update for Denver Nuggets vs. Miami Heat
While “Dynamic Duos” and “Big 3s” have defined prior winners, the 2023 NBA Finals are likely to be a confrontation between two of the top individual performers in the playoffs, as well as a crowning achievement for one team.
While the individual accomplishments of Jokic and Butler will be highlighted, they will be critical for both teams in order to win a championship.
- THE NUGGETS REPORT
Unlike the Heat, who had to endure a rigorous seven-game series that finished with an away victory, the Nuggets have had a lovely little mini-vacation.
They easily defeated the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference finals in four straight games, and completed the sweep on May 22 with a 113-111 victory against LA.
It gave them ten days to lick their wounds, recuperate, and prepare for the NBA Finals.
Nikola Jokic of the Denver Nuggets did not win the NBA MVP title this season after winning it the previous two years.
Instead, he is ready to win the ultimate team award with a statistically dominant postseason run.
The presence of Jokic, who appears suitably motivated after losing the MVP title to the Philadelphia 76ers’ Joel Embiid, makes it plausible for Denver. In 15 playoff games, Jokic has averaged a triple-double of 29.9 points, 13.3 rebounds, and 10.3 assists.
“I think the way we play, everybody can step up and everybody can be the best payer for a game or a week,” Jokic added, appearing uneasy with the top-player title. “The ball is in my hands a lot, so I make a lot of decisions, but I don’t know if I can be the best player.”
He’ll get enough help from Jamal Murray (27.7 ppg), Michael Porter Jr. (14.6 ppg, 8.0 rebounds), and Aaron Gordon (13.0 ppg).
The Nuggets are playing in the NBA Finals for the first time in franchise history and for the first time since losing in the ABA Finals in 1976.
- THE HEAT REPORT
Jimmy Butler of the Miami Heat has never earned an MVP award, but he has demonstrated at various stages in his career that he possesses the kind of tenacity that can carry a team through the most difficult of stretches.
The Nuggets will be the Western Conference’s No. 1 seed, while the Heat will be the Eastern Conference’s No. 8 seed.
After the New York Knicks in 1999, Miami is only the second No. 8 seed to reach the NBA Finals.
“You get to the NBA Finals, it’s not about seeding anymore, and for those who are thinking that this is going to be an easy series, I don’t even know what to say,” Nuggets head coach Michael Malone said. “This is going to be the biggest challenge of our lives. This is the NBA Finals.”
Butler has found a new gear in this run, with an excellent blend of hard effort and glamour play that has resulted in postseason averages of 28.5 points, 7.0 rebounds, and 5.7 assists. This is an increase from the previous season’s averages of 22.9 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 5.3 assists.
In the playoffs, Bam Adebayo has averaged 16.8 points and 9.2 rebounds.
The Heat’s roster also contains seven undrafted players, topped by Caleb Martin (14.1 ppg in playoffs) and Gabe Vincent (13.1 points), who scored 29 points in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Boston Celtics.
“We love being around each other; we want to see each other succeed,” Butler explained. “We really do enjoy when each other play well, and we’re going to continue to do that, never going to get rattled, and we’re going to see where we end up.”
Miami guard Tyler Herro, the team’s third-leading scorer (20.1 ppg) in the regular season, could be the series wild card.
The 23-year-old point guard has been out since breaking his right hand in the first game of the Heat’s first-round series against the Milwaukee Bucks.
On Wednesday, Spoelstra said Herro would miss Game 1 but that he is getting closer to returning.
The Heat are in the NBA Finals for the first time since they were eliminated by the Los Angeles Lakers in 2020. Butler delivered a similar effort in the playoffs, propelling Miami to its sixth all-time Finals appearance.
The Heat have three championships, the most recent of which was won in 2013 by LeBron James.