Erik Spoelstra, the head coach of the Miami Heat, frequently speaks of retreating “into the cave” with his staff to prepare for the upcoming contest.
The eighth-seeded Heat are in the NBA Finals because they find the solutions there.
The Denver Nuggets’ Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray may not be solved by limitless time in the cave after Game 1 against them.
As many predicted, over the course of 48 minutes, the Nuggets’ 104-93 victory in Game 1 made it evident that Miami was in trouble due to Jokic and Murray’s playmaking and scoring.
With 27 points, 14 assists, and 10 rebounds, Jokic set an NBA record for the ninth triple-double in a single postseason and the fourteenth overall. Murray finished with 10 assists, 6 rebounds, and 26 points.
Jokic and Murray join Magic Johnson and James Worthy of the Lakers (Game 1 in 1987) as the second pair of teammates to have at least 25 points, 10 assists, and five rebounds in a Finals game. The only other teammates to have 25 points and 10 assists in a Finals game are Jokic, Murray, Johnson, and Worthy.
If the Heat wants to have a chance of winning the championship, they can let one of those players have a game like that but not both.
We will undoubtedly need to take courses on it, Spoelstra added.
Miami might not have the personnel, particularly in terms of size, to make a significant difference in this series. Spoelstra and his staff will attempt to address it, but thus far in the playoffs, no club has succeeded.
The winning margin of 11 points was misleading. Late in the third quarter, Denver was up 84-60, and they kind of coasted in the fourth.
Jokic had just one shot in the first quarter of Game 1 despite having six assists, which was a poor start. That is a portion of the issue Miami has. Jokic is just as devastating with his passes as he is with his goals.
They’re attempting to prevent him from scoring, Murray added.
Jokic nevertheless continues to play until the last seconds of the game, when you check the box score and see that he has a 27-point triple-double.
You can’t play him one-on-one because he will exploit the defence, especially in pick-and-rolls, and you can’t double-team him because he finds open teammates.
Jimmy Butler of Miami stated, “He’s going to make plays.” At times, he’s going to be fantastic.
Butler discloses a potential remedy for Denver’s frenzied offence. Jokic is going to play. He’ll eventually get his triple-doubles or anything close to it. Miami won’t stop him from continuing what he’s been doing for the last three seasons.
Murray is the player Miami should choose to restrict. He cannot shoot 50% from the pitch if the Heat permit it. He cannot have 26 points and 10 assists at the same time.