AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee
The Denver Nuggets are one win away from their first championship after taking down the host Miami Heat 108-95 in Game 4 of the NBA Finals on Friday.
Five Denver players scored 11 or more points, with Aaron Gordon dropping a game-high 27. Nikola Jokić (23 points, 12 rebounds) and Jamal Murray (15 points, 12 assists) each posted double-doubles two evenings after they earned triple-doubles in Game 3.
Heat star Jimmy Butler did all he could to keep Miami alive with 25 points, seven assists and seven rebounds in 45 minutes.
However, Friday was a rough night for a few of his teammates.
Bam Adebayo posted a 20-point, 11-rebound double-double but committed seven turnovers.
Max Strus went scoreless in 19 minutes.
Gabe Vincent scored just two points, and the Nuggets outscored the Heat by 21 with him on the floor.
Miami’s defense also struggled to stop Denver, which went 14-of-28 from the three-point line and committed just six turnovers.
Now Miami is on the brink after losing two straight at home. The Heat have to win three straight to get it done, and that looks like a Herculean task given how well Denver played in Miami.
Simply put, the supporting cast around Butler needs to perform better than it did in Game 4. It is certainly capable of doing so based on an incredible Eastern Conference playoff run.
For now, though, Twitter noted that crew’s tough performance at home.
Bam might have some of the worst touch around the rim that I’ve ever seen man lol
Surprised it wasn’t a sweep tbh. Strus and Vincent have been absolutely garbage.
Chris D. – ‘Stephen A. Chris’ @bklyn_prince
Gabe Vincent, Max Strus, and Caleb Martin crash landing now of all times is crazy.
Bammy Adebutler’s burner @BammyBurner
Erik Spoelstra is the most stubborn coach in NBA history
Refuses to play Highsmith
Continues to play Strus and Zeller
It’s crazy man
NBA World @NBAW0RLD24
Max Strus in the 2023 NBA Finals thus far:
Manny Navarro @Manny_Navarro
Gabe Vincent with one assist and 9 points on 3 of 16 shooting between Games 3 & 4. He led the Heat with 23 points in its Game 2 win. Not saying it’s him. Just a rough couple home games for Miami’s starting PG
Matt Hanifan @mph_824_
Gabe Vincent and Max Strus combined for zero points on six shots, zero assists & two tunrovers in the first half.
Miami Heat Beat (We Just Cover The Team) @miaheatbeat
Their defense was always my concern every series. They cant get enough stops on the non jokic lineups
Matt Zemek @MattZemek
It can’t just be Jimmy and a bunch of role players.
Heat need a second flamethrower-level scorer. Their defense is good enough. Offense was exposed in this series. https://t.co/xoL1hruBL6
Dos Minutos @DosMinutos
The Nuggets defense looks too big and locked in for the Heat’s offense. Cannot create good shots. Problematic.
Denver will host Game 5 on Monday at 8:30 p.m. ET.