The Miami Heat evened up the 2023 NBA Finals with a 111-108 victory in Game 2 on Sunday, and all of a sudden, the series has gone from looking like a mismatch in favor of the Denver Nuggets to one that could be a barn burner.
There was a feeling that perhaps the Heat were playing with house money in this series, but that isn’t exactly the way they see it. In fact, guard Gabe Vincent says they’re focused on winning the championship.
"I speak for my whole team when I say we don't give a damn. We just want to get four wins."
-Gabe Vincent following Game 2 🗣
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) June 5, 2023
Teammate Jimmy Butler seemed to co-sign what he said after the game.
"It's the I don't give a damn factor" 🗣 pic.twitter.com/w4krTQ8ubJ
— Ahn Fire Digital (@AhnFireDigital) June 5, 2023
Although the Nuggets took Game 1 on Thursday by double digits, they didn’t play particularly well, and the Heat played even worse.
Denver, which has been one of the highest scoring teams all season, as well as the most efficient offensive team in the playoffs, only put up 104 points, and it seemed to feed Miami’s optimism and confidence heading into Sunday’s Game 2.
Butler and company came out strong, scoring the contest’s first seven points, but Denver responded by finding its game late in the first quarter and into the second quarter. It opened up a sizable lead, but as usual, the Heat fought back.
They outscored Nikola Jokic’s crew 36-25 in the fourth quarter and withstood one final spurt by Denver to tie the series and steal home-court advantage.
Vincent led the Heat in scoring with 23 points on 8-of-12 overall shooting and 4-of-6 from 3-point range. Bam Adebayo also pitched in with an efficient 21 points plus nine rebounds and four assists.
But the big difference between Game 1 and Game 2 was the fact that Miami shot 48.6 percent from downtown on Sunday compared to just 33.3 percent on Thursday. Over the last few years, 3-point shooting has been its biggest weapon, along with its stiff defense.
Even though Jokic scored 41 points, that defense limited him to an unusually low four assists while containing Jamal Murray and holding him to just 18 points. No one else for the Nuggets scored more than a dozen points.
Now the Heat have an opportunity to take control of the series with the next two games in South Florida.