Heat rally in fourth quarter to snap Nuggets streak as Michael Malone fumes

Denver, Colorado - Gabe Vincent scored 23 points and helped spark a fourth-quarter rally that propelled the Miami Heat to a 111-108 win over the Denver Nuggets on Sunday in Game 2 of the NBA Finals, evening the championship series at 1-1.

Gabe Vincent and Bam Adebayo embrace after the Miami Heat rally in the fourth quarter to beat the Denver Nuggets in Game 2 of the NBA Finals.
Gabe Vincent and Bam Adebayo embrace after the Miami Heat rally in the fourth quarter to beat the Denver Nuggets in Game 2 of the NBA Finals.  © USA TODAY Sports via Reuters Connect

The Heat overcame an eight-point deficit to start the fourth quarter to snap the Nuggets' seven-game winning streak and send the series to Miami all tied. Game 3 will take place Wednesday.

Denver also was handed its first loss in 10 home games during this postseason despite another big effort from two-time NBA MVP Nikola Jokić, who followed up his Game 1 heroics by pouring in another 41 points on 16-of-28 shooting along with 11 rebounds.

Head coach Michael Malone blasted his team's attitude in a furious post-game interview.

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"Let's talk about effort. This is NBA Finals, we are talking about effort; that's a huge concern of mine," he said, after being seen yelling at players in the first time-out of the game.

"You guys probably thought I was just making up some storyline after game one when I said we didn't play well. We didn't play well," he said.

"We had guys out there that were just whether feeling sorry for themselves for not making shots or thinking they can just turn it on or off, this is not the preseason, this is not the regular season. This is the NBA Finals. That to me is really, really perplexing, disappointing," he said.

Nuggets falter at the end

Denver Nuggets coach Michael Malone slammed his team's effort after a slow start.
Denver Nuggets coach Michael Malone slammed his team's effort after a slow start.  © USA TODAY Sports via Reuters Connect

Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo each contributed 21 points for the Heat, while Duncan Robinson scored all 10 of his points during a pivotal 15-2 run to open the fourth quarter that sent Miami ahead to stay.

Jokić scored the final six points of the third quarter to give the Nuggets an 83-75 lead that turned out to be short-lived. Robinson had the first eight points of Miami's momentum-shifting surge, and Vincent later added a 3-pointer before hitting two free throws that put the Heat up 90-85 with nine minutes remaining.

Miami held a 107-95 advantage after Caleb Martin's 3-pointer with 3:39 left to play, but the Nuggets responded with a late charge to put the outcome back in doubt.

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Aaron Gordon and Jamal Murray hit 3-pointers to ignite an 11-2 run Murray capped with another triple that pulled Denver within 109-106 entering the final minute.

After Jokić countered two Butler free throws with a short turnaround jumper with 35.6 seconds left, Butler missed a 3-pointer on the ensuing possession to give the Nuggets a chance to tie.

Murray misfired on a step-back 3-point try with 1.9 seconds left, however, and Martin grabbed the rebound as time expired.

Denver,who led by as many as 15 points in the first half, had been 11-0 this postseason when holding a double-digit lead.

Cover photo: USA TODAY Sports via Reuters Connect

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