Dribbles: Heat Just Keep Finding Way to Keep Things Interesting

Random dribbles following the Heat’s stunner of a 111-108 road win over the Nuggets in Game 2 of The Finals …Jimmy Butler

1. What else can you say about the Heat in these playoffs? They’ve done it all, continued to surprise, and just never, ever quit. Like, ever. 

2. The Heat trailed by eight points to start the fourth quarter. I thought, “It’s over.” Denver had won. But if we’ve learned anything about the eighth-seeded East champs, it’s that as soon as you think the outcome (and their season) has been decided … you’re toast.

3. Beyond Jimmy Butler, how many players on the Heat do you think the average fan can name? Kevin Love? He barely plays (though started and played an important role on this night). Bam Adebayo? He certainly did his share with 21 points and nine rebounds.

4. But Duncan Robinson, Gabe Vincent, Max Strus, Caleb Martin and the rest? Forget it. All fine players. So few outside of Miami know their names.

5. Still, somehow, someway, someone new steps up for the Heat nearly every game. Butler (21 points) was big down the stretch, overcoming a 7-of-19 shooting night with some big buckets when it mattered most. Nonetheless, Vincent was huge with 23 points, Robinson played his best game in like two years, and Strus rained down 3-pointers. Overall, the Heat were an eye-popping 17-of-35 on threes.

6. Butler to reporters on how the Heat keep winning just as soon as everyone thinks they’re finished: “It’s the ‘I don’t give a damn factor.’”

7. Meanwhile, the Nuggets were finally flat at home, losing there for the first in 11 postseason games. Nikola Jokic finished with just four assists — 10 less than he compiled in Game 1.

9. Also, Michael Porter Jr. and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has an off night with 3-of-12 shooting. Denver missed a lot of shots it normally makes.

9. Coach Michael Malone was blunt about the defeat. “I asked our players: ‘You guys tell me why we lost.’ And they knew the answer,” Malone said. “Miami came in here and outworked us . … So many breakdowns.”

10. Now, we are headed to Miami for the next two. The Heat lost two there vs. the Celtics in the East finals. So you never know what to expect from these Heat.

11. Of course, that is what has made this run so beautiful. And there may be still more to come.

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