The Denver Nuggets, led by two-time MVP Nikola Jokic, will be making their first-ever NBA Finals appearance against the Miami Heat, who have surprised everyone by reaching the Finals after participating in the play-in tournament. The Heat, who are the eighth seed, will be looking to claim their fourth NBA title, while the top-seeded Nuggets will be hoping to secure their first. With a four-game sweep of the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference finals, the Nuggets come into the Finals with plenty of momentum, while the Heat are coming off a big win against the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference finals.
Biggest Questions Ahead of the Finals
The NBA Finals is one of the most surprising matchups in league history, and there are several questions that fans and experts are asking ahead of the game.
Rest Advantage: The Nuggets will have been off for 10 days before the Finals, which is just the fourth time in the past two decades that a team has had that long a break before the Finals. While teams with at least a five-day rest advantage heading into the Finals have gone 10-6 in the opening game, teams with both home-court advantage and a rest edge of at least five days going in are 8-1 all-time in the Finals. So, there’s every reason to think rest will be a huge benefit for the Nuggets.
Stopping Jokic: The Heat will need to find a way to stop the Denver Nuggets’ two-time MVP Nikola Jokic, who is averaging 29.9 points, 13.3 rebounds, and 10.3 assists with an NBA-record eight triple-doubles in the playoffs, six coming in his past eight games. The Lakers temporarily slowed down Jokic by putting Rui Hachimura on the center to allow Davis to roam, but finding a way to stop him in a series might be next to impossible. Jokic is one of the most dominant players in the game, and trying to outwit him in the postseason is matched only by trying to beat LeBron in an NBA Finals.
Keeping Adebayo out of foul trouble: The Heat will also need to keep Bam Adebayo out of foul trouble, as he will be tasked with limiting Jokic on the defensive end and providing some help for Jimmy Butler offensively. If the Heat’s All-Star center gets into any kind of foul trouble, Jokic will become an even bigger problem. The Heat will also need Gabe Vincent, Caleb Martin, and Duncan Robinson to keep hitting shots to stand a chance against the Nuggets.
The Denver Nuggets and Miami Heat will face off in the NBA Finals, with the Nuggets looking to secure their first-ever NBA title and the Heat looking to claim their fourth. Fans and experts will be watching closely to see how the Nuggets’ rest advantage, Jokic’s dominance, and the Heat’s ability to keep Adebayo out of foul trouble will impact the outcome of the game.