Missed opportunities doom Miami Heat vs Nuggets in NBA Finals rematch

The Miami Heat had chances to seize momentum but left multiple opportunities on the table in their rematch against the Denver Nuggets.
Miami Heat v Denver Nuggets
Miami Heat v Denver Nuggets / Jamie Schwaberow/GettyImages

The Miami Heat found themselves trailing the Denver Nuggets by 16 after one, but continued to battle and cut the lead down to two in the last seconds of this NBA Finals rematch.

Unfortunately, even after an ankle injury sidelined Jamal Murray for the second half, too many lapses on both ends led to the Nuggets holding off the Heat, resulting in a 103-97 loss Thursday night in Denver.

The Miami Heat had chances to seize momentum but left multiple opportunites on the table

Coming out of the halftime break down five, the Heat immediately chipped closer to tying the game as their first offensive possession resulted in a Jimmy Butler 3-pointer. But the Nuggets responded with seven straight points, five coming from Michael Porter Jr. who terrorized Miami and finished with 30 points.

After falling back down by nine, the Heat punched right back and found themselves only down two after Terry Rozier picked Porter's pocket and hit his only 3 for the game in the corner.

Shortly after, the Heat found themselves down four points, and Duncan Robinson had a left corner 3 in the same spot Rozier hit his in but missed, which resulted in Aaron Gordon getting fouled by Butler as he was going to the basket. His free throws pushed the lead back to six. Porter then caught fire again and scored seven straight points for the Nuggets and, after a Christian Braun layup, Miami was down 78-65 in a blink.

The deficit grew in the fourth quarter after a Justin Holiday corner 3 pushed Denver's lead to 16, but Miami made one final push with 2:53 left in the game. After a Kentavious Caldwell-Pope triple seemed to close the deal for the Nuggets who led 97-87, Bam Adebayo and Terry Rozier combined to score the next eight points for the Heat, with a combination of tough mid-range shots and playing off one another with one of Adebayo's baskets coming off a feed from Rozier after a hard screen from Adebayo.

After Adebayo's floater made it 99-95, the following Nuggets possession resulted in an offensive foul as Nikola Jokic was called for an illegal screen. Miami got the ball back with 39.2 on the clock, but the possession that followed was not pretty and resulted in a Rozier airball from behind the arc.

Rozier began to catch a rhythm, but had a lot of his success in the mid-range area and around the basket, shooting 5-for-7 on 2s but just 1-for-8 on 3s. He air-balled four of those shots from downtown. A Butler layup then brought the Heat close to two, but two Jokic free throws made it a two-possession game with 6.1 seconds left and sealed the game.

In this Finals rematch, the Heat's defense kept them in the game, and did a solid job on Jokic, holding him to 18 points on 15 shot attempts. But when it was time to make a play to even the game or go on a run that could have flipped momentum, the Heat could not get over that hump.