This was never going to be an easy series for the Miami Heat. As the NBA world has gradually come to realize, the Denver Nuggets are really, really, really good, and as impressive as the Heat have been in the postseason, they've clearly got a talent differential to overcome. As they showed in Game 2 on the road, however, they're capable of doing it.

Game 3 was a really disappointing loss at home after tying the series, but as Miami has shown time and time again, like a slightly annoying dog they just refuse to go away. Here are three reasons why you should bet on Jimmy Butler and his Heat team to bounce back and win the NBA Finals from a 2-1 deficit.

1. The Butler effect

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Jimmy Butler showed early in the playoffs that more than perhaps anyone else in the league, he is capable of elevating his game to an entirely new level in the postseason. Since suffering an ankle injury against the New York Knicks, however, he hasn't quite been the player he's capable of being. He's been good, sure, and the Heat have still been able to grind their way through to the NBA Finals, but against a team with as much offensive potency as the Nuggets he was always going to play a big role.

A 13-point start in Game 1 wasn't what he or the Heat wanted or needed, but since then he's gradually been winding up. He followed it up with 21 points – albeit on 7-19 shooting – in Game 2, while in Game 3 he managed 28. Unfortunately for him, not enough of his teammates helped out, but if there was a positive to come out of that game it was that Butler was at least beginning to look a little more like the best version of himself. The Heat might be down 2-1, but they've arrived at that point without prime Jimmy Butler. If he can continue on the upwards trend he's been on since the start of this series, it will go a long way to getting the Heat back into contention.

2. Scope for improvement from role players

One of the major reasons the Heat have had so much success these playoffs has been the performance of their role players, with their raft of undrafted guys getting no shortage of attention from the NBA world. So far, a large portion of that group has failed to deliver in the NBA Finals, but that's not necessarily a bad thing.

Caleb Martin was, somewhat unbelievably, very close to winning the Eastern Conference Finals MVP after a terrific series against the Boston Celtics. Against the Nuggets, he's averaging 5.3 points, 4.0 rebounds and 1.3 assists, with an illness cited as a potential reason for his early struggles. Max Strus, too, has been nothing short of a disaster. Aside from a hot first quarter in Game 2, he's provided literally almost nothing for the Heat despite being a key player for them all year, going 0-10 in Game 1 and 1-7 in Game 3.

The Heat need these guys firing, or at least not going completely AWOL, if they're to compete in this series. That they've been as poor as they have so far leaves plenty of scope for improvement, and should give them more hope heading forward in this series than had the Heat been firing on all cylinders but still down 2-1. If Strus and Martin can get back to scoring double figures with regularity, it will give this Heat offense which has been so noticeably struggling a huge boost.

3. Dare I say Miami Heat culture?

The whole concept of Heat culture might be wearing a bit thin, but the reality is that this team has proven time and time again that there is something intangible about them that gives them an edge over most teams in the league. This is a team whose whole is far better than the sum of its parts, and a team which is able to overcome situations where defeat seems inevitable. That Game 7 win against Boston was a prime example – against a seemingly much more talented team, on the back of three straight defeats, facing being resigned to the wrong side of history, in a hostile road environment. Everything pointed to a Heat loss, but they won easily.

Given how close they were to being knocked out in the play-in tournament, if we're all honest with ourselves it's a little weird that the Heat are in the NBA Finals, let alone having stolen a game on the road early in the series. They've been counted out before, but time and time again they prove everyone wrong. There's no reason they can't do it one more time.