To be honest, how many of you at the beginning of the 2022-23 season had the Denver Nuggets and the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals? Ok, it’s totally acceptable to believe that many may have had the Nuggets reaching their first NBA Finals in franchise history, but the Heat? Come on now!
However, now that all of the dust has cleared from the conference playoffs, the Nuggets and the Heat have proven to be the two most deserving teams in this year’s postseason.
With a 12-3 playoff record, the Nuggets ran through the Western Conference relatively unscathed, dropping just one game to the Minnesota Timberwolves and a pair to the Phoenix Suns before sweeping the LA Lakers. As for the Heat, after upsetting the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks with a “gentleman’s sweep”, outlasting the New York Knicks in six, and holding off a historic comeback by the Boston Celtics after being up three games, Miami returns to the Finals for the second time in four years.
While this is certainly not an NBA marketing department’s dream matchup with the fifteenth (Denver) and seventeenth-ranked teams in terms of market size and the Nuggets entering the series as the heavy favorite, the Heat has proven that they shouldn’t be counted out.
Check here how to bet on the NBA finals 2023.
Denver Nuggets vs Miami Heat: Schedule And Where To Watch?
|Game 1||Heat (93) vs Nuggets (104)||Thurs. June 1||8:30 PM EST||Broadcast: ABC|
|Game 2||Heat (111) vs Nuggets (108)||Sat. June 4||8:00 PM EST||Broadcast: ABC|
|Game 3||Nuggets at Heat||Wed. June 7||8:30 PM EST||Broadcast: ABC|
|Game 4||Nuggets at Heat||Fri. June 9||8:30 PM EST||Broadcast: ABC|
|Game 5||Heat at Nuggets||Mon. June 12||8:30 PM EST||Broadcast: ABC|
|Game 6||Nuggets at Heat||Thur. June 15||8:30 PM EST||Broadcast: ABC|
|Game 7||Heat at Nuggets||Sun. June 18||8:00 PM EST||Broadcast: ABC|
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Denver Nuggets Players To Watch
With an average stat line of 29.9 points, 13.3 rebounds, and 10.3 assists over the course of the Nuggets’ fifteen Western Conference playoff games, “The Joker” has proven that he is arguably the best and most valuable player in the NBA. From circus shots to “how did he see him” passes, Jokic has set a record for the most playoff triple-doubles in a single postseason, surpassing Wilt Chamberlain and now sits third all-time with fourteen. Considering Rudy Gobert, Karl-AnthonyTowns, DeAndre Ayton, and Anthony Davis all struggled with attempting to slow down Jokic, it seems to be inevitable that whoever the Heat throw at him will suffer the same fate.
The Robin to Jokic’s Batman, the Nuggets’ point guard is averaging 25.4 points per game in the playoffs and playing at the All-Star level that fans last saw in the “NBA Bubble”. Unfortunately, it has been two years since Murray has been in the postseason due to an ACL injury that robbed the Canadian of his court time. In the Nuggets’ four-game sweep of the Lakers, Murray averaged 32.5 points, 6.3 rebounds, 5.3 assists, and shot 52.7% from the field. Hopefully, the extended break hasn’t cooled off Murray’s hot hand.
He hasn’t started a single game of the 2023 NBA Playoffs and he is the Nuggets’ fifth-leading scorer with just 12.2 points, but Brown has proven to be a valuable addition to the Denver roster. Signing with the Nuggets as a free agent last summer, Brown is a Swiss Army knife for Coach Malone, who can be plugged in to play pretty much all five spots on both ends of the floor if needed.
Miami Heat Players To Watch
After besting the two top teams in the Eastern Conference, the only thing that appears to rattle the Heat’s All-Star is a bumblebee. Averaging 24.7 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 6.1 assists to go along with 2.6 steals against the Boston Celtics, Butler has been a “jack of all trades” for the Heat. While there have been a few games along the Heat’s path to the NBA Finals that Butler may choose to forget, one would never know it. If there is one player that you don’t want to bet against this postseason, it’s “Jimmy Buckets”.
Following his second All-Star-worthy season, one that saw a career-high 20.4 points on 54% shooting along with 9.2 rebounds and 3.2 assists during the regular season, Adebayo has regressed during the Heat’s post-season run. While his rebounds assists and effort outside of the box score remain the same, his scoring (which has dropped four points) and his shooting percentage need to improve greatly for the Heat to have a chance in the Final series.
His current contract is locked in for another two years, but based on the way that the fourth-year forward out of North Carolina has played, Caleb Martin is vastly underpaid. After averaging just 9 points a game coming off the bench in the regular season, Martin arguably could have been the Eastern Conference Most Valuable Player. Joining the starting unit for the final two games of the Celtics series, Martin dropped a pair of twenty-plus point and ten-plus rebound games. On a team filled with undrafted talent proving their worth, Martin has given Eric Spoelstra every reason to keep him as part of the starting unit.
— NBA (@NBA) June 6, 2023
The Nuggets have home-court advantage and are the heavy favorite to win their first NBA title.. However, this news is just the locker room fodder that helps to motivate the underdog Heat. Despite the best efforts of Coach Spoelstra and the Heat, look for Denver to hoist the Larry O’Brien trophy after five hard-fought games and for Jokic to claim the Finals MVP after being snubbed his third straight regular-season award.