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NBA: HEAT Make Late Run, Fall Short As Denver Grinds Out A Win

Much like in the first quarter of Game 1 of the NBA Finals, there was an adjustment period through the opening shift as the HEAT reacclimated themselves to defending a team that plays unlike standard NBA offenses, and with Denver hitting threes early and often that meant staring down a 31-16 deficit before the first quarter was even over. 

Miami’s defense is generally structured to make life incredibly difficult for teams that try to break through the coverage, but Denver – on a back-to-back tonight – can just move the ball over the top and when their shots are falling, there aren’t many teams that stay close.

Stay close is just what the HEAT did after that initial stretch, getting into the bonus early in the second quarter and grinding the game down into mush once Denver got deeper into a rotation featuring a couple young players that didn’t experience Miami’s style in the postseason. 

Turnovers pushed the HEAT into a few easy ones, fouls in the bonus pushed them into some free-throws and Denver struggled to get back into the same rhythm they opened the game with. 

The deficit didn’t so much shrink as it did slowly erode, but being down five at the break with Denver holding the advantage from the arc was hardly a bad spot to be in, especially with Nikola Jokic (2-of-8 in the first half) missing shots, with Bam Adebayo right in his face, he typically makes better than anyone else.

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