The Denver Nuggets are now one win away from capturing the franchise's first championship after beating the Miami Heat 108-95 in Game 4 on Friday night. Three Nuggets players scored in double figures, led by Aaron Gordon's playoff career-high of 27 points, to go with Nikola Jokic's 23 points and 21 points from Bruce Brown off the bench. While those three led the way, it was a balanced effort from Denver, who overpowered a Heat team that once again struggled to keep pace with the Nuggets.
Miami was led by Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo who combined for 45 points, but it wasn't enough to eek out a win and even up the series. As a result, the Heat now face a 3-1 deficit and are on the brink of elimination when they head to Denver.
Ahead of the action, here's all you need to know for Monday's Game 5:
Denver Nuggets vs. Miami Heat
- Date: Monday, June 12 | Time: 8:30 p.m. ET
- Location: Ball Arena -- Denver
- TV channel: ABC | Live stream: fubo (try for free)
- Odds: Nuggets -9.0; O/U 208 (via Caesars Sportsbook)
Nuggets: In each of the Nuggets last two games they've shown that regardless of the defensive pressure you throw at them, they have the depth to overcome it. In Game 3 it was rookie Christian Braun who stepped up with 15 points off the bench. In Friday night's win it was Brown and Gordon who helped Jokic while Jamal Murray was getting blitzed for most of the game. Miami has tried to make life difficult for Denver, but the Nuggets have been able to adjust every time. I expect the same to happen in Game 5, it's just a matter of who steps up this time for Denver to try and get this team across the finish line.
Heat: The past two losses for Miami can be boiled down to its starting backcourt struggling mightily. In Game 4 Max Strus and Gabe Vincent combined for just two points on 1 of 10 from the floor. That's just not going to cut it if the Heat want to extend this series. While Kyle Lowry and Duncan Robinson gave great contributions off the bench, Miami needs Vincent and Strus to also show up, otherwise their season could be over Monday night.
There's a reason the betting line for Game 5 heavily favors Denver, and it's not just because they're essentially cruised to wins in back-to-back games. The Nuggets have lost just one game at home all postseason long, which came in Game 2 of the NBA Finals against the Heat. The raucous environment and altitude certainly play a part, and while Miami managed to steal a win earlier in this series in Denver, I suspect the Nuggets will be extra motivated to close this series out at home. Pick: Nuggets -9