DENVER (KDVR) — The Denver Nuggets lost to the Miami Heat 108-111 in Game 2 of the NBA Finals Sunday night at Ball Arena.
The Heat came out blazing, going up by 11 at one point in the first quarter, but the Nuggets battled back to take and hold on to the lead into halftime.
Max Strus, who was 0 for 10 in Game 1, had four 3-pointers in the first quarter. Jimmy Butler made a jumper with 4:56 left in the opening quarter to put Miami up 21-10, tying the second-biggest lead any opponent had built in Denver so far in these playoffs.
Denver led 57-51 at halftime after they built a substantial lead in the second quarter. But Miami continued to chip away and climb back within six. At the half, Strus led all Heat scorers with 14 points while Nikola Jokic had 13 for Denver.
The Nuggets led 83-75 going into the fourth quarter, with Jokic taking over the game and leading all scorers with 31 points.
Miami outscored Denver 36-25 in the final period, erasing an eight-point deficit going into the final frame.
“It’s defeating when you give up open shots,” Murray, citing a lack of communication and discipline in Game 2, said.
And even then, the Heat had to dig deep to finish it off.
Jokic scored 41 points and was 16 of 28 from the floor, the last of those shots a 4-footer with 36 seconds left to get the Nuggets within three.
Denver elected not to foul on the ensuing Miami possession. Butler missed a 3, and with a chance to tie, Jamal Murray missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer.
Murray had 18 points and 10 assists for Denver, while Aaron Gordon had 12 points and Bruce Brown scored 11.
“If we play like that we expect to lose like that,” Murray said.
Game 3 is at the Kaseya Center in Miami on Wednesday.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.