As Denver has dominated this series, they now sit one game away from an NBA title. After a game one win by 11 points, they lost by three in game two. Then, they shut down the Heat for two straight games. A 15 points win followed by a 13-point win places the Nuggets a game away from their first title. In the process of getting to the top, Nikola Jokic has been dominant. He is averaging 30.8 points per game so far in the finals, with 13.5 rebounds and eight assists. Meanwhile, his partner in crime, Jamal Murray, has been everything the Nuggets needed after missing a full season with an ACL tear.
Meanwhile, Jimmy Butler and the Heat are looking to become just the second team ever to come back from a 3-1 series deficit in the NBA finals. Only the 2016 Cleveland Cavaliers have made this comeback before. They did it over the best team in the league, the 73-9 Golden State Warriors. Golden State lost Draymond Green for game five due to suspension, and the combination of Kyrie Irving and Lebron James led them back to a title. Only two other teams all-time have come back to even force a game seven, both of those happened before any player on the court was alive though. They happened before the two head coaches in this series were born.
Here are the Heat-Nuggets NBA odds, courtesy of FanDuel
NBA Finals Odds: Heat-Nuggets Odds
Miami Heat: +8.5 (-110)
Denver Nuggets: -8.5 (-110)
Under: 209.5 (-110)
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Time: 8:30 PM ET/ 5:30 PM PT
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Why The Heat Could Cover The Spread
The Heat have to get more shots off and hit them. They only had 78 field goal attempts in their last game, and while they got 44.9%, it is not enough volume to win. In game three, they had better volume, but shot 37.0%, which is still not enough to win. The Heat are also much better when they outshoot their opponents. In the playoffs when they have the shot advantage or are tied, they are 10-4. Without it, they are just 3-5. They cannot give the other team more possessions and more shots, which means they need to limit turnovers and make smart plays.
Second, Jimmy Butler needs to have a big game. He has improved in the last two games, with 28 and 25 points in games three and four. Butler also shot the best he had all seasons in those two games, but he has only scored over 25 points once in this series. He has yet to have a double-double and has yet to dominate a game. He needs to step up tonight to get the Heat the win.
Third, the Heat role players need to have big games. Gabe vincent did just that in game two of the series, scoring 23 points on 8-12 shooting. He was also 4-6 from beyond the arc. In the first two games of the series, he was 9-16 beyond the arc. Since then he is 1-10 and has a combined nine points. Caleb Martin has yet to have a great game in this series. He is averaging just 6.8 points per game while shooting just 35.5%. In the Boston series, his worst game of the series was a 5-12 night where he scored 14 points. Right now, that would be the best game of the series for him against the Nuggets.
Why The Nuggets Could Cover The Spread
The game plan for the Nuggets should be simple, just keep doing what they are doing. It starts with Jokic. Jokic is averaging over 30 points per game in this series, while also averaging 13.5 rebounds. In game three, he has a triple-double, which was the second of the series, while also snagging 21 rebounds. It would be a little bit of a stretch, but if Jokic can hit 18 assists tonight in a Nuggets win, he would average a triple-double for the series.
Meanwhile, Jamal Murray is continuing his great play. His worst game of the series came in game four, where he shot just 29.4% and only scored 15 points. He still was a positive influence on the court though. He doled out 12 assists on the night, and is averaging 10.5 assists per game so far in the series. His 23.3 points per game in this series would be the lowest for him of any series thus far, but it would still be 3.3 points higher than his season average. His 10.5 assists per game is the big difference. Murray averaged just 6.2 assists per game in the regular season and has only had ten assists in a game once in the playoffs before this series. He has had over ten in each game so far this series.
Finally, if Micael Porter Jr. gets going, the series will end tonight. His best game of the series in terms of shooting was shooting 40%, and he scored 11 points off that. His best rebounding and points effort came in game one, where he has 13 boards and 14 points. He had ten or more rebounds in three of the four games against the Lakers and 14 or more points in all of them. If he can repeat any of those games from the Lakers series, it would be his top performance of the series, and would all but assure a Nuggets win.
Final Heat-Nuggets Prediction & Pick
It is highly unlikely that the Heat come back and win this series. Now, the question is can the Heat even make it to game six? With how well the Nuggets have been playing, primarily from their two stars, it will not be happening. Jokic will have another triple-double, while Murray will be close. The Nuggets close it out tonight and are the new NBA champs.
Final Heat-Nuggets Prediction & Pick: Nuggets -8.5 (-110) and Under 209.5 (-110)