NBA Conference Finals 2023, Game 2 on Monday, 05.06.2023
The home side have lived up to their role as favourites in this finals series so far! In fact, for the first time in the 2023 NBA Playoffs, Floridians can’t seem to find an answer to their opponent’s game.
At the centre of my Nuggets Heat prediction for Game 2 this time is a player other than Jamal Murray. Because I’m expecting the next impressive triple-double from his teammate Nikola Jokic right away!
The opening game went exactly as I had anticipated in advance: Jamal Murray scored over 25.5 points and thus got the expected many opportunities to excel. The Nuggets’ size advantage was also hard to miss.
The only thing that surprised me a bit was how incredibly difficult it was for the Heat to take Nikola Jokic out of the game.
That’s because the Serbian recorded his ninth triple-double of these playoffs with 27 points, 10 rebounds and 14 assists – a record in NBA postseason history!
One of the Heat’s problems in Game 1 was certainly their missed opportunities to make an impact from the outside: 13 converted threes on 39 attempts is not enough, especially when you rarely go to the basket as the Heat did last Friday.
Finally, MIA as a team came up with just two free throws, none of which Jimmy Butler was allowed to shoot. Since arriving in Miami, it was only the second time ever in the playoffs that Butler did not march to the free throw line once.
The Nuggets, on the other hand, handled the ball much quicker in transition, creating numerous mismatches that they were able to convert into a lot of points.
Their size advantage on the board also prevented the Heatles from gaining permanent access to their own basket.
But the defining factor of this game remains Nikola Jokic, against whom the Heatles have been unable to find a remedy for years. With the Nuggets’ upgrade in new additions at the start of the season, the Serbian is now even more dangerous.
Since 2019, Denver is now 10-1 in duels between these two teams. The Serbian has consistently been the undeniable difference-maker, averaging over 21.3 points, 11 rebounds and 7.6 assists per game.
Personally, I thought Adebayo would do a better job of covering the All-Star in the centre duel, and occasionally he did – but not to the extent necessary to throw the Nuggets off track in a sustained manner.
I think Anthony Davis of the Lakers is the best defender in these NBA playoffs. But even the Lilagolden centre failed to render the Serb harmless and make enough of an impact himself.
Since I don’t think Adebayo is quite as strong as “AD”, it should therefore continue to go only one way tonight. Especially since Denver only needed 4 games against the better-stocked Los Angeles to put them away (4:0).
Jimmy Butler is not playing well enough for MIA and the bench players disappointed in the opening game for the first time in these play-offs.
Case in point? Max Strus couldn’t put a single shot on net in 21 minutes on the floor.
As for a bookie-worthy tip, I wouldn’t want to put my hand in the fire that Jokic will get near the 30-point mark again in Game 2.
That’s because there’s a chance the Heat will try to guard him even tighter now.
Should that be the case, he will of course produce fewer points, but they still won’t be able to deny him rebounds and assists. Because on the board, the All-Star seems to almost magically attract the ball.
My betting decision therefore falls on a special bet called Triple-Double, as offered by the bookmaker Bet365, which, by the way, currently offers new customers a perfect introduction to the world of sports betting with the Bet365 offer code of the same name.
A conventional win bet on the home side, however, is too low for me according to the current Nuggets Heat odds, which put such an event at around 1.25, which is why I will switch to a triple-double bet on the Serb.
Conclusion: I don’t think MIA will win these NBA Finals, even a win seems rather unlikely to me right now….
Nikola Jokic is as dominant as ever and Bam Adebayo will once again not find a way to render the All-Star harmless over the full distance tonight.
My Nuggets Heat tip is for a so-called triple-double from the Serb, which as you know consists of 10 rebounds, points and assists each and I think is far more realistic than him breaking the 30-point mark.
My tip: Nikola Jokic with triple-double