The Miami Heat’s fears were realized.
Finals media day, one day before Game 1 of the NBA Finals. From Miami coach Erik Spoelstra to Jimmy Butler to Bam Adebayo. They all mentioned Nikola Jokic.
“You can’t beat the Denver Nuggets if you don’t stop Jokic,” was the mantra.
Then came Game 1 of the Finals between Miami and Denver on Feb. 2. Jokic effortlessly dismantles Miami’s modified zone defense.
He scored 27 points on just 12 shots from the field. Best of all, he attacks the Miami defense with 14 assists, the most of any player on either team.
Final line: 27 points, 10 rebounds, 14 assists triple-double. Becomes the second player in NBA history to record a triple-double in his Finals debut, joining Jason Kidd in 2002. His ninth triple-double in these playoffs alone is the most in NBA history.
Miami struggled not only on defense but also on offense, most notably in free throw attempts, where they made just two, the lowest total in NBA playoff history. That’s a huge drop in offensive aggressiveness.
In the midst of all this, the rumored return of Tyler Hiro is a welcome sight. Hiro has been sidelined since suffering a fractured right hand in Game 1 of the first round of the playoffs. He’s now been cleared to play in Game 3 and is even being talked about as a possible Game 2 return.안전놀이터
Hiro was Miami’s second option on offense behind Jimmy Butler, averaging 20 points per game this season. Miami will be looking to both get Hiro back and rebound in Game 2 of the Finals in two days.