Miami Heat announce starting 5 for Game 1 of NBA Finals vs. Denver Nuggets

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For the second time in the last four seasons, the Miami Heat are in the NBA Finals, and they will look to topple Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets for their fourth Larry O’Brien Trophy.

The starting lineup for Miami in Game 1 has been announced, and it features several unsung heroes.

Usually, teams that are in this position get this far with a slew of established players who are highly regarded coming into the league. However, Miami is a unique team, as it has relied on a number of undrafted gems to get this far.

Forward Caleb Martin looked to have little potential in his first two pro seasons, both of which were spent with the Charlotte Hornets. But since coming to the Heat, he has blossomed as a 3-and-D player.

He was the hero of Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals, as he shot 11-of-16 and scored 26 points in Miami’s stunning 103-84 win over the Boston Celtics in Massachusetts.

Max Strus has had a number of standout offensive performances in the playoffs, and so has guard Gabe Vincent, who exploded for 29 points in Game 3 of the Boston series.

But of course, the Heat will only go as far as Jimmy Butler, and to a lesser extent Bam Adebayo, takes them.

Butler took home the Eastern Conference Finals MVP award, and although he’s a team player to a fault, he will need to be as aggressive as ever to help the Heat counteract Denver’s explosive offense.

Meanwhile, Adebayo will have his hands full trying to contain two-time MVP Nikola Jokic, who is starting to look like one of the game’s all-time greats.

The Heat could get some big help very soon, as the injured Tyler Herro may return as soon as Game 2 of the Finals. But until then, they will continue to fight hard and play beyond the sum of their parts.

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Robert is a native of Santa Monica, Calif. and a graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara. He has been an avid NBA fan since he was a little kid in the mid '90s, and during that time he has lived through the Alonzo Mourning, Dwyane Wade and LeBron James era of Heat basketball. He feels strongly that the NBA and sports aren't just entertainment, but also a means for learning life lessons.