One Nuggets official told me this is the best-coached team the Nuggets have faced this season https://t.co/UwRWixyJ7Z
— Five Reasons Sports 🏀🏈⚾️🏒⚽️ (@5ReasonsSports) June 6, 2023
Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra is certainly a big reason why the team has made the NBA Finals this season, finding the right rotations throughout the playoffs despite injuries to Tyler Herro and Victor Oladipo.
Spoelstra’s latest chess move in the rotation came in Game 2 when he reinserted Kevin Love back into the starting lineup. The Heat responded by picking up a road win in Denver to even the series.
Miami has made the NBA Finals in two of the last four seasons, going to the Eastern Conference Finals three times over that stretch.
Spoelstra’s ability to make adjustments is what makes him one of the league’s brightest minds, and he’s used different concepts on defense, going to zone at times, to disrupt opposing offenses.
It’s also clear that Spoelstra’s team is trying to take advantage of Denver’s defensive scheme by being fluid on the offensive end.
Of the 20,000 words spoken today, these stood out.
MPJ on Heat: "They're hearing what we're communicating to each other and they're doing the opposite. If we say 'switch,' they're slipping out for open threes. If we don't say 'switch,' they are actually going to set the screen."
— Anthony Chiang (@Anthony_Chiang) June 6, 2023
Max Strus was a huge beneficiary of slipping screens in Game 2, and it allowed him to get open from beyond the arc. After not scoring in Game 1, Strus made four 3-pointers in Game 2 against Denver.
Another Strus slip, another Strus 3.
I liked the pacing from him — jog, slow up, burst out into the corner — but ultimately Gordon has to be better prepared for this.
This may be one of the "effort" clips coach Michael Malone shows (or has shown). pic.twitter.com/OdpegvVJJ3
— Nekias (Nuh-KY-us) Duncan (@NekiasNBA) June 6, 2023
Getting a shooter like Strus going is key for Miami’s offense, as it helps space the floor for Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo to attack the basket.
Spoelstra has done a terrific job giving Strus and Duncan Robinson the confidence to let it fly from beyond the arc all season long, and it’s paying dividends for the Heat in the playoffs.
The Nuggets had a relatively easy run throughout the Western Conference in the playoffs, going 8-0 at home against the West and playing just 15 total playoff games to make the NBA Finals.
Miami beat the Nuggets in Denver in Game 2, the team’s first loss at Ball Arena this postseason.
The Heat still have a long way to go to win the NBA Finals, but it’s clear that the Nuggets – and potentially the rest of the NBA – are seeing just how well-coached this team is.
Game 3 between the Heat and Nuggets is scheduled to tip off on Wednesday, June 7 in Miami.