The NBA Finals tip-off tonight at the Ball Arena in Denver, Colorado, where the Nuggets host the Miami Heat. On one side, we have the top seed in the West, led by Nikola Jokic, arguably, the greatest player of today. The Nuggets had a tough path toward the Finals, beating the Timberwolves, the Suns, and finally, the LA Lakers.
Miami Heat began its playoff path in the play-in tournament, losing to the Atlanta Hawks and then beating the Chicago Bulls. After that, they face the league’s top seed, the Milwaukee Bucks, whom they eliminated before beating the Knicks and the Celtics. The series against the Cs was extremely interesting, as they had a 3-0 lead, then allowed three losses in a row before winning Game 7 in Boston.
The Nuggets have a home-court edge in the finals, but the Heat isn’t afraid of that because they already encountered such a deficit throughout the postseason.
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) June 1, 2023
Denver Nuggets VS Miami Heat NBA Finals Preview
Even though everyone thinks that Nikola Jokic is, in fact, the Denver Nuggets, we have to disagree with such a claim. Yes, the Joker is by far the best player in the league and this playoff, and a lot of things depend on him, but the reality is that the Nuggets showed plenty of power in these 15 games played, with several players having their unique roles, which have nothing to do with Jokic.
First of all, Jamal Murray woke up and with 27.7 points per game, is back on track to becoming a top 10 guard in the league. Michael Porter Jr. does all the dirty work on the defensive side, often covering p for Jokic on the glass and controlling the paint while the Serb is out. Bruce Brown jumps out off the bench, etc.
As for the Joker, he averages a triple-double so far, with 29.9 points, 13.3 boards and 10.3 assists per game. You really can’t say anything after seeing these stats.
The Heat had an unconventional path to the finals, eliminating the favorites in pretty much each of their series. In all seven games of the East Finals, Miami was an underdog against the Celtics. Yet, when you have Erik Spoelstra on the bench, that’s a major plus that only a few teams in the league have.
Spoelstra made his team very versatile on the offensive side, and the head has six players with nine or more points. We didn’t count in the injured Herro, who will come back once the series moves to Miami (according to the latest info), and Victor Oladipo, who is out of the picture. On the other side, the defensive effort of all the players is equal, with all the players having their specific roles.
Jimmy Butler is the leading scorer with 28.5 points. Apart from that, he steals 2.1 possessions per game and has seven boards and 5.7 assists. Butler’s contribution on the defensive side is equally impressive, with him always guarding the best players in the rival team. Bam Adebayo is the force under the rim with 16.8 points and 9.2 rebounds.
The big factor here is the home-court edge that the Nuggets have. So far, they haven’t lost in the playoffs at their Ball Center. Now, many would say that doesn’t bother Miami, who posted big wins on the road in the playoffs. However, they didn’t face a team like Denver. Mile High is something completely different, especially when you have Jokic.
Overall, the Nuggets have a better team, and we believe they will win this series and reach their first NBA title.
Pick: Denver Nuggets 1/5 at BetXchange