Jokic led Nuggets and Butler led Heat clash horns at the NBA Finals 2023. The Nuggets whitewashed the Los Angeles Lakers while the Heat went the distance with the Boston Celtics.
Miami Heat and Denver Nuggets are polar opposites when it comes to NBA seeds. Nuggets were the number one seed in the Western Conference while the Heat were the last seed in the Eastern Conference. Denver steamrolled their opposition while the Heat paced their way to the finals.
This final series has been billed as a matchup between the star players of the respective teams, Nikola Jokic for the Nuggets and Jimmy Butler for the Heat. Jokic has been averaging double digits in points, rebounds and assists while Jimmy Butler has been having terrific fourth quarter games.
Miami plays man to man defense with zone principles meaning they do not allow penetration and are all about the closeout. They don’t leave anybody out to drive on dribble penetration. Miami is so good at making sure they get five guys ahead of the basketball.
The Miami Heat play a 2-2-1 zone defense. It is very unique. Most team gets a wing pinched in when playing zone. The Heat makes the backline guy to come up knowing that the two wings can go whichever way the ball goes.
Nikola Jokic is the main reason the Denver Nuggets are such a heavy favorite to win the series. According to Caesar’s sports book, the Nuggets are nine to one favorite to win game 1. Nuggets are minus 410 to win the series and the “Joker” is minus 360 to win Bill Russel NBA Finals MVP.
The “Joker” in his humble opinion has come forth and said that there is no favorite in the finals. Jokic led Nuggets whitewashed the Los Angeles Lakers and comfortably won the Magic Johnson Western Conference Finals MVP.
Miami defensively has been spectacular, but Nikola Jokic presents some specific challenges that stress what the Heat does so well.
Jokic spends most of the game in the exact area of the floor that you are trying to keep the ball out of. Jokic is big and strong and keeps players off, he is basically a 7-foot point guard.
Jokic also makes immediate reads that picks apart opposing teams. Jokic is the most decisive basketball player ever and it is not even prone to exaggeration.
Basketball is based on a series of decisions one after another in rapid speed, nobody makes them quicker, more correctly and more often than Nikola Jokic. Everything he does has a purpose. There is no wasted motion or any wasted decision.
Jokic has an incredible to have multiple options at his disposal because of his vision, IQ and passing ability. Jokic is only the third player to average a triple double going into the NBA Finals.
The other two being Wilt Chamberlain in 1967 for the Philadelphia Seventy Sixers and Magic Johnson in 1982 for the Los Angeles Lakers.
The Miami Heat knocked out the Milwaukee Bucks and Boston Celtics, two of the teams that had the best rosters and record in the league. It is mainly because of Jimmy Butler.
Butler averaged over 37 points on nearly 60 percent from the floor in the Heats five game upset of the top seed. Butler paced Miami’s win over the knicks in six and finally left Boston with a Larry Bird trophy in his hands.
The advantage that the Heat had over all the teams that they beat is Jimmy Butler. Butler versus Jokic is going to be the matchup that defines the series and ultimately decides who wins the NBA Finals 2023.