With the 2023 NBA Finals deadlocked at 1-1, the Denver Nuggets and Miami Heat Game 3 contest heads down to South Beach. Ahead of this Heat-Nuggets game, we’ll be making our bold Heat Game 3 predictions.

After the Nuggets' seemingly easy 11-point win in Game 1 of the NBA Finals, it looked like the Western Conference champions may run away with the series. However, in Game 2, the Heat came out strong, weathered a first-half run where they fell behind by 15, and ultimately won the game 111-108 to hand the Nuggets their first loss in almost a month.

The Heat got solid games from its stars, Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo, as they both put in 21 points apiece. Gabe Vincent was the difference-maker in Game 2, though, pouring in 23 to lead the Heat in scoring. Max Strus and Duncan Robinson also contributed double-digit points, hitting a combined six 3-point shots. The Nuggets closed the gap late, but even Jamal Murray’s late-game heroics and Nikola Jocic’s 41 points couldn’t get the job done.

Now, as Heat-Nuggets heads to Miami, the home team will be looking to take an all-important 2-1 series lead. With that in mind, here are our bold Heat Game 3 predictions.

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4. It’s Jimmy Butler time

Jimmy Butler only had 13 points in Game 1 and followed that up with 21 points in Game 2. That’s not bad at all, especially considering all the defensive responsibilities Butler has in this series, but the numbers aren’t up to Butler’s usual standard.

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For two games in the NBA Finals, Butler had to chase Denver’s best players around for 48 minutes a game in a high-altitude environment. That’s not easy, and it may explain why Butler wasn’t as efficient or involved as usual on the offensive end.

Back in Miami, Butler will still have a lot on his plate defensively. But back in a more comfortable environment, he should be able to get his legs under him on both sides of the floor and take on more scoring responsibility.

The bold Miami Game 3 prediction here is Butler leads his team in scoring the next game.

3. Defense shuts down Nuggets’ star Jamal Murray again

The big change the Heat made in Game 2 was starting Kevin Love and putting him on Aaron Gordon. That defensive matchup allowed Butler to stay on Jamal Murray, and that made a huge difference for the away team.

After Murray had 26 in the first game of the NBA Finals, Miami held him to just 18 points in the second Heat-Nuggets matchup, and that made a huge difference.

Eric Spoelstra seems to have decided that Jokic is going to do what he’s going to do, and giving up 41 points to the two-time MVP showed that. However, Miami’s D was able to keep the role players relatively in check, which allowed the to get the W.

In Game 3, look for the Heat to stick with this defensive philosophy and make slowing down Murray the key to the game plan.

2. Tyler Herro returns for the Heat

Miami star Tyler Herro broke his hand in the first half of the first game of the 2023 NBA Playoffs, and he hasn’t played since. The team has done great without him, but getting him back in the NBA Finals would be a huge lift.

Herro played 2-on-2 before Game 2, and it seems like he may be close to a comeback.

The bold Heat Game 3 prediction for Herro is that he makes his triumphant return in Miami. He likely won’t be a huge difference-maker right away after so much time off, but his presence will buoy the team, and the threat of his shooting will help create more space for his teammates on this inside.

1. Heat 118, Nuggets 117

Taking a 2-0 series lead in the Heat-Nuggets NBA Finals would be huge for Miami, and that’s exactly what happens in these final bold Heat Game 3 predictions.

South Florida now has a team in the NBA Finals and the Stanley Cup Final, so the entire region will be rocking this week. Getting out of the Denver altitude and having the confidence that comes from taking a game on the road will help the Heat on Wednesday.

This game will be close. These are both excellent teams. However, this Heat team is more battle-tested after going through two play-in games and three tough Eastern Conference series wins.

When Miami gets their second win, it won’t mean the series is over by any stretch. But it will give the Heat a crucial leg up, and that’s all you can ask for in a series like this that now seems destined to go at least six games and probably seven.