Nuggets vs Heat NBA Finals Preview: Previous Matchups, Key Players, and Schedule

Nuggets vs Heat NBA Finals Preview: Previous Matchups, Key Players, and Schedule

Joel Reyes
May 30, 2023 at 12:08 PM
  • Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray led the Nuggets to a 4-0 series win over the Lakers
  • Jimmy Butler and Caleb Martin powered the Heat to a 4-3 series win over the Celtics
  • The Nuggets have won their last six games against the Heat

The Denver Nuggets advanced to the NBA Finals for the first time after sweeping the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference Finals.

The Nuggets will face the Miami Heat next, who needed seven games to eliminate the Boston Celtics.

Sports Brief breaks down the upcoming championship series between the Nuggets and the Heat.

Nikola Jokic, Jimmy Butler, Jamal Murray, Caleb Martin, Kyle Lowry, Bam Adebayo, Aaron Gordon, Michael Porter Jr, NBA, NBA Playoffs, NBA Finals, 2023 NBA Finals, Nuggets vs Heat, Tyler Herro
Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic; Caleb Martin and Jimmy Butler. Images: Adam Pantozzi/ Nathaniel S. Butler
Source: Getty Images

Previous matchups this season

The Nuggets defeated the Heat 124-119 in their first meeting on December 30, 2022.

Jokic and Murray starred for the Nuggets, who extended their winning streak against the Heat to five games. Jokic registered a triple-double in this contest, finishing with 19 points, 12 rebounds, and 12 assists, per ESPN.

It was Murray, however, who sealed the win for Denver. He scored seven straight points in the final two minutes, turning a 117-115 deficit into a 122-117 lead for the Nuggets.

The Nuggets continued their mastery of the Heat on February 13, recording a narrow 112-108 win.

Denver swept the regular season series against Miami for the third consecutive year with that victory.

Key players for the Nuggets

For the Nuggets to win their first-ever NBA championship, they will need Jokic and Murray to play outstanding basketball.

The Joker was sensational in the series against the Lakers, registering three triple-doubles in the four-game sweep.

Murray also played his part in the destruction of the Lakers, averaging 32.5 points, 6.3 rebounds, 5.3 assists, and 2.8 steals in four games against Los Angeles.

He shot 52.7 percent from the field and 40.5 percent from the 3-point area. Murray was red-hot from deep, knocking down an average of 3.8 triples per game in the Western Conference Finals.

Key players for the Heat

All eyes will be on Butler as the Heat begin their Finals showdown this coming Thursday. He willed Miami to victory against Boston in Game 7, scoring 28 points in the series clincher.

Butler averaged 20.5 points, 8.5 assists, 8.0 rebounds, and 2.5 steals in two meetings with the Nuggets this season.

Caleb Martin is another player who needs to step up for Miami in the Finals. He was superb in the playoff series against the Celtics, averaging 19.3 points and 6.4 rebounds per game.

Martin shot 60.2 percent from the floor and 48.9 percent from beyond the arc against the Celtics, per CBS Sports.

He saved the best for last in Game 7, scoring 26 points and grabbing 10 rebounds in the series clincher against Boston. Martin shot 11 of 16 from the field in that contest.

Series schedule

Game 1: Miami Heat at Denver Nuggets, Ball Arena (June 1)

Game 2: Miami Heat at Denver Nuggets, Ball Arena (June 4)

Game 3: Denver Nuggets at Miami Heat, Kaseya Center (June 7)

Game 4: Denver Nuggets at Miami Heat, Kaseya Center (June 9)

Game 5: Miami Heat at Denver Nuggets, Ball Arena (June 12) *

Game 6: Denver Nuggets at Miami Heat, Kaseya Center (June 15) *

Game 7: Miami Heat at Denver Nuggets, Ball Arena (June 18) *

* If necessary

Miami avoids historic collapse

Sports Brief recently reported on the Heat’s win over the Celtics in Game 7.

Five players scored in double figures for the Heat, who recorded a 103-84 victory.

Butler was named the Eastern Conference Finals MVP.

Joel Reyes photo
Joel Reyes
Editor- Other Sports