The Nuggets will look to take a commanding 2-0 series lead against the Heat in the NBA Finals on Sunday night. Denver won Game 1 on a triple-double by Nikola Jokic, who appeared to be in MVP form against an undersized Heat front court. Miami will be looking for a big comeback performance from their role players after an ugly night of 3-point shooting from the likes of Max Strus and Caleb Martin.
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How can I see coverage on TV? When will it air? What TV channel? – Sunday’s game will kick off at 8:00 pm ET from the Ball Arena in Denver, Colorado. The game will be broadcast on ABC nationwide.
Live streaming options: Watch ESPN | Honda | fuboTV | DirecTV: Viewers with cable can use their TV provider’s login credentials to watch via WatchESPN. If you don’t have cable, you can stream the game on WatchESPN by signing in with your credentials. Fans without cable can also watch the game with on-demand streaming options like Sling or fuboTV, which has a seven-day free trial.
More coverage via Associated Press
DENVER (AP) — For the Miami Heat, shooting 5,280-foot Denver during Game 1 of the NBA Finals was no problem.
Not shooting from 15 feet, the distance from the basket to the foul line, was.
The Heat made NBA history, and not a good one, by making just two free throws in Game 1 as Denver scored first in the title series with a 104-93 victory. It was the fewest free throw attempts by a team in a playoff game and makes one of the settings for Sunday’s Game 2 easy to forecast: expect Miami to go into attack mode.
“The attacks, we didn’t have enough,” said Heat coach Erik Spoelstra, whose team sent Denver to the line for 20 free throws in Game 1. “I think the free throw disparity was appropriate. Maybe we could have gotten two, four, six more based on a call here or a call there. But overall, our attack numbers were lower, and that usually translates to fewer free throw attempts.”
Playoff time adjustments are considered mystical, as if a team were going to completely reinvent itself for a day or two between games. They’re usually nothing more than minor tweaks, maybe a lineup change, a slight change in how a pick-and-roll is defended.
The Nuggets are used to this by now. They are 4-0 in Game 1 in these playoffs, having led them by 32, 25, 21, and 24 points, respectively. And the teams that lost those games obviously had to make the infamous adjustments before Game 2.
They worked. Something like. Denver’s biggest leads in the three Game 2s he’s played so far are 21, 12 and 12 points. That’s less than the Game 1 margins, but not enough to affect the outcome. The Nuggets are 3-0 in those games as well.
And if you think that puts Nuggets coach Michael Malone at ease, well, think again.
“I told our players today, don’t read the paper, don’t listen to people on the radio and TV saying this series is over and we’ve done something, because we haven’t done anything,” Malone said. “We won Game 1. The reason I told our players I was excited this morning is because we won Game 1 and we didn’t play well, and there’s so much we can do better. If we do those things at a better level, we’ll have a chance to win Game 2.”
There are always things to do better. Even for Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray, believe it or not.
They joined Magic Johnson and James Worthy in 1987 as the only teammates to have at least 25 points and 10 assists in the same Finals game, and the Nuggets duo did it in their Finals debut. Jokic had a 27-point triple-double, Murray finished with 26, and the stage clearly wasn’t too big for Denver’s top two players.
Denver is also trying to be the first team to start a 10-0 postseason at home since Boston in 2018.
“You just try to win every game. He’s the first to get to four no matter how you do it,” Murray said. “Obviously, you want to take advantage of being at home. I love playing at home. But any game you can win, you take it. So yeah, we’re looking forward to winning every game we play.”
This is Miami’s first 1-0 deficit in the postseason. The Heat won Game 1 on the road in Milwaukee, New York, and Boston en route to the finals; no team had ever won four Game 1s on the road in the same postseason.
And while the Nuggets say, also correctly, that they missed a lot of open shots, the Heat can point to it as a way they’ll improve in Game 2. Max Strus (0-of-10), Caleb Martin (1-of-7) and Duncan Robinson (1 of 6) were a combined 2-for-23 from the field in Game 1, 2-for-16 from 3-point range.
That would be the simplest and most effective adjustment Miami could make for Sunday: take shots.
“I’m going to keep playing the right way. I’m going to pass the ball to my shooters the way I’ve been playing all playoffs, all year,” said Heat forward Jimmy Butler, who scored 13 in Game 1, his lowest-scoring game to date. now in these playoffs.
“But I think I have to be more aggressive putting pressure on the rim,” he said. “I think that makes everyone’s job much easier. They definitely do the same thing when I’m aggressive on both sides of the ball. So, I have to be the one to go out there and start it off the right way, which I will, and we’ll see where we end up.”