Jokić conducts a symphony on offense, Nuggets pick up 104-93 Game 1 win over Heat

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DENVER — This is what the Denver Nuggets have done to every team that faces them.

There are no good answers to slowing the Jamal Murray/Nikola Jokić pick-and-roll. Their passing and off-ball movement are elite. And they play enough defense that it becomes impossible to keep up with their scoring.

Combine that with Heat shooters going cold for long stretches of the game and you end up with a 104-93 Nuggets victory in Game 1 that wasn’t as close as the final score made it seem.

The Nuggets lead the NBA Finals 1-0, with Game 2 Sunday in Denver. It was a raucous, fun night for Nuggets fans at the franchise’s first-ever Finals game.

Jokić finished with a triple-double of 27 points, 14 assists and 10 rebounds — Miami has to find a way not to let him both score and distribute if they are going to have a chance in this series. Of course, that’s what the Timberwolves, Suns and Lakers all said.

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Murray added 26 points and 10 rebounds, and Aaron Gordon scored 16 on 7-of-10 shooting.

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Bam Adebayo led the Heat with 26 points and 13 rebounds, shooting 13-of-25. He played well and hard all night, but the Nuggets will be happy if he is the Heat player taking the most shots every game.

From the opening tip, Denver’s size advantage on paper became a problematic reality for Miami – 18 of Nuggets’ first 24 points were scored in the paint. The Nuggets used their size advantage to pummel the Heat inside.

Miami also just missed shots they made in the previous series, shooing 9-of-26 (34.6%) in the first quarter. For the game things got a little better, but the Heat had a 102.2 offensive rating on the night.

The shooting trend continued into the second, as the Heat didn’t play terribly on the offensive end for most of the first half, moving the ball and getting good looks, but they weren’t falling — Max Strus was 0-of-7 in the first half (six from 3) and those were essentially clean looks. Miami did make a little push in some non-Jokić minutes in the second and cut the lead down to six with 5:47 left in the half with a Haywood Highsmith dunk.

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But the first half’s final minutes were a disaster for the Heat. They didn’t score for 3:30 after Highsmith’s bucket and shot 2-of-10 the rest of the quarter. Denver got rolling at the end of the quarter, went on a 16-5 run to end the quarter, and it was a 17-point Nuggets lead at the break, 59-42.

At the start of both the third and the fourth quarters the Heat made runs — 7-0 to start the third, 11-0 to start the fourth — and cut the lead to 10 both times. In the third,d things returned to first-half form and the Nuggets ran out to a 21-point lead after three.

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In the fourth, the Heat kept it close, partly thanks to 18 points from Haywood Highsmith off the bench, and the lead got down to single digits for a possession. But Miami was too far back for their comeback magic, especially against a team with Jokić orchestrating a symphony on offense.

Check out more on the Nuggets

Heat vs. Nuggets NBA Finals roundtable breaking down series, betting options PBT Podcast: NBA Finals preview, plus Nurse to Philly, and Bucks as opera Five things to watch in Heat vs. Nuggets NBA Finals (with betting tips)

Jokić conducts a symphony on offense, Nuggets pick up 104-93 Game 1 win over Heat originally appeared on NBCSports.com



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