NBA Finals: The Nuggets take Game 1.

Twitter: @GGirlSports. 

 The Denver Nuggets put on a show and defeated The Miami Heat 104-93 in Game 1 of the NBA Finals. Nikola Jokić recorded a triple double and finished with a historic night. In addition, Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr finished with double doubles. The 8th Seed, Miami Heat (12-7, 6-5 Away) couldn’t find their stride or their shot against the 1 Seed Denver Nuggets (13-3, 9-0 Home). Let’s break down the betting odds, and the contributing factors to the Nuggets win:

Playoff Matchup

The Denver Nuggets lead the Series 1-0 against the Miami Heat.

Game 1: Denver Defeated Miami 104-93(Denver Home).

Betting Odds: Denver -9, Over/Under: 218.5.
Betting Results: Denver Money Line, Denver Covered -9, Under:197.

Game Summary:

 The Denver Nuggets are looking for their first ever championship, and the Miami Heat are looking for their first ring since 2013. The Nuggets were coming off 9 days of rest, and Miami with only two days’ worth. With that said, there were many questions surrounding the matchup, and whether Denver could handle the biggest stage in the NBA. It’s clear the Nuggets weren’t bothered by the pressure, or at least seemed that way in Game 1. The Denver Nuggets remain undefeated at home in the NBA Playoffs.

Nuggets game factors.

1. Nikola Jokić and Jamal Murray combined for 53 Points.

Is Nikola Jokić the next NFL star? His play making ability was that good.

 Nikola Jokić did not disappoint and finished with a triple double. Jokić finished with 27 Points, 1 Block, 1 Steal, 14 Assists, and 10 Rebounds. In addition, Jokić shot 10-12 from the free-throw line, 8-12 from the field, and 1-2 from the three. Not only was Nikola Jokić a force in the paint, but he also showed elite playmaking and passing ability.

Guarded by Bam Adebayo most of the night, Jokić showed elite court vision, and had incredible passes. Whether he found Aaron Gordon in a back door cut using a size advantage, or Jamal Murray, Nikola Jokić makes everyone around him play better. At one point, Jokić fed Jeff Green and every player on that Denver team. In a nutshell, he always finds a way to make the plays look easy. It was evident that Jokić didn’t need to shoot much in the first quarter and found the open teammates. It’s important to note his 14 assists made NBA History last night, the most in debut Finals history.

 Jamal Murray is an incredible player, and a vital part of this Denver team. He finished with a double-double last night and has exceptional chemistry with big man Nikola Jokić. Murray finished with 26 Points, 1 Steal, 10 Assists, and 6 rebounds. In addition, he shot 2-7 from the three, and 11-22 from the field. If Jokić was clamped, he found Murray on the three-point line. In times where Murray was unable to score, he found Jokic down below. Murray didn’t have his best game from the three-point line; however, he made several dunks. At times, it seemed as if Jamal Murray was running through the Heat’s defense, especially when matched with Gabe Vincent.

Murray is an exceptional playmaker, who can attack at the rim, the mid-range, and outside the perimeter. He played physical and tough, which is exactly what the Nuggets needed on the biggest stage. If Jokić can continue to make plays and screens, I expect Murray to have some high-volume shots around the perimeter and the mid-range. He also excels at creating his own shot. Going into Game 2, can anyone on the Heat stop this duo?

2. Points inside the paint, Size Advantage, Physicality, and tempo. 

 We knew going into this game, there would be a physical matchup down below between Bam Adebayo of the Heat and Nikola Jokić from the Nuggets. Not only did Denver beat Miami with size and speed, but they also dominated in the Paint, 46-38. Aaron Gordon often used his side advantage to score in the paint. Whether Butler or Martin was on Gordon, it didn’t seem to make a difference.

A Miami team that’s been incredible defensively, couldn’t seem to get a stop in the paint. In fact, Gordon shot 7-10 from the field, and finished with 16 Points. We saw Jokić show physical toughness down below, along with Murray and Gordon. Right now, Denver is the bigger, more physical team. Although the Nuggets struggled to hit their threes, they shot 50 percent from the field. The Miami heat started a small lineup, and it’s hard to envision Erik Spoelstra plugging in Kevin Love for a decent size matchup. Denver is so good at attacking the Heat’s weaknesses, and I do believe they will utilize their tempo, and size in the upcoming games.

The Miami Heat could be in trouble with the size disadvantage against the Nuggets. Besides Bam Adebayo, who stands at 6 foot 9, Cody Zeller and Kevin Love are the only other big man options. Erik Spoelstra went small, and started Max Strus, Gabe Vincent, and Caleb Martin, who are all under 6 foot 6. It will be a challenge against Jokić, Michael Porter Jr., and Aaron Gordon, who all have a significant size advantage over the Heat’s lineup.

3. Poor shooting,lack of Free-Throw Attempts.

Although Denver went cold from shooting, and finished under 30 percent from the Three, the Heat struggled as well, especially in the first three quarters. The Nuggets finished the night 8-27 from the three, and Miami shot 13-39 from the three. Had Miami hit their threes, the outcome of this game could’ve been very different. Eventually, the Heat woke up in the fourth quarter, and started on an 11-0 run. Gabe Vincent finally hit his stride, along with Forward Haywood Highsmith.

Guard Max Strus was 0-9 from the three, and Duncan Robinson 1-5. In addition, Bam Adebayo struggled with shots, only hitting 13-25. The Heat’s shooting troubles made the game plan extremely predictable, given Adebayo was forced to shoot 25 times. In addition, Jimmy Butler shot 6-14, and missed several mid-range shots. Caleb Martin, who was once considered the Eastern Conference MVP, shot 1-7 from the field. Denver took advantage of their shooting troubles and answered.

I don’t remember a game where the Miami Heat only attempted two free-throw shots. Although they played better basketball in the second half, the Heat couldn’t attack the rim and get to the line. In fact, 2 free-throws were the least by any team in NBA Playoff history. When you go back to the Boston vs. Miami matchup, the heat got to the line as much as 29 times in a series. If Miami wants to win this series, it will be vital for them to get to the line more than two times.

4. Role Players

The importance of role Players was huge for the Nuggets in Game 1. Although Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokić combined for 53 Points, it was Aaron Gordon and Michael Porter Jr. who contributed on both sides of the court.
Michael Porter Jr. has tremendous talent, and this is his first time on the biggest stage. Although Porter has played inconsistent throughout the playoffs, he contributed in a great way last night. Porter Jr. added 14 Points, 2 Blocks, and 13 Rebounds. Although he was cold from perimeter shots, he attempted 13 threes. Porter will be a huge impact player, given Denver has a size advantage. Look for him to have plenty of volume inside and outside the arc with the size differential.

Aaron Gordon has shown why he is so important to this Denver team. He finished +15 on the floor, had some incredible inside attacks, and played defense when it mattered. I can’t stop talking about the size mismatch, and I do believe Aaron Gordon will have a decent size role in this series. At times, it felt Miami didn’t want to guard Gordon, especially with those back door dunks. With the way Jokić and Murray are distributing the ball, look for him, Jeff Green, and Bruce Brown to step up in some way.

Overall, Denver dominated inside, using their stardom, size, and speed. The under hit due to the Heat missing most of their shots, and the Miami +8.5 almost hit once Miami cooked in the fourth quarter. Denver did shoot under 30 percent from the three, which may be a problem if Miami finds their stride in Game 2.

Stay tuned for more NBA odds, stats, and predictions for the NBA Finals.

For More Betting Info & Game Predictions, Follow us at @BallislifeBets.

Sara Jane is a full-time content creator, focusing on both college basketball, the NBA, NFL, and writer of Don’t forget to follow her on Twitter/YouTube/Twitch/Instagram: @GGirlSports.


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