Miami Heat falter late as they allow Denver to explode in fourth period, 119-124

Bam Adebayo #13 of the Miami Heat boxes out Nikola Jokic #15 of the Denver Nuggets (Photo by C. Morgan Engel/Getty Images)
Bam Adebayo #13 of the Miami Heat boxes out Nikola Jokic #15 of the Denver Nuggets (Photo by C. Morgan Engel/Getty Images) /

The Miami Heat had an enormous opportunity before them on Friday night.

With the chance to continue along a little streak of wins, shooting for three in a row in Denver on Friday, the chance to knock off a Denver team in their building that has been nearly flawless there, and the chance to get a win on the front end of a back-to-back set in which Jimmy Butler wouldn’t be playing on the backside—they really let one slip away.

And to make matters just that much worse, the Miami Heat had all the opportunity in the world to actually win the game. After a shaky first half shooting the ball, which still only saw them down a few points because of their defense, they would come out in the third period to go up pretty big on the Nuggets.

Though the Nuggets would close the gap a bit, the Miami Heat would still outscore them, 33-25, in the third period. It’s just that in the last period of play, the fourth quarter, the Denver Nuggets would have the best offensive period of the game.

The Miami Heat had an opportunity to get a huge road win Friday against a team that rarely loses at home. However, they let it slip away in the fourth period.

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Exploding for 39 points of their own in the final period, the Miami Heat would only be able to put up 29 and thus, lose the game. The Miami Heat had plenty of chances.

With the lead toggling and the Miami Heat fresh off of three flagrant foul free throws late in the game, they weren’t able to cash in on their bonus possession. In another crucial sequence down the stretch, they had a Bam Adebayo look with just under a minute and a half left in the game that could have brought the lead to one.

And it was a good look, Bam’s signature midrange shot as of late. However, instead of taking it in rhythm, the way he has taken it to great success a lot this year, he reverted to his bad habit of hitching or uselessly pump-faking on the shot.

The way it missed was clearly a result of being out of rhythm there. Listen, all in all, this was an encouraging defeat considering the competition, how they were able to contain them defensively, at times, and the fact that Denver is, again, nearly flawless on their home floor.

But there are no moral victories with the Miami Heat and they have to be better. That starts on Saturday night in a New Year’s Eve clash with the Utah Jazz.

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They’ll have to get this one done without Jimmy Butler though, as he’ll sit the second game of the back-to-back set. And though that’s why this first one was so key to get, they weren’t able to come through.