The 2023 NBA Finals matchup is set.
Jimmy Butler led the Heat with 28 points, seven rebounds and six assists. Caleb Martin also had a big game with 26 points and 10 rebounds.
Miami closed out the series after the Celtics won three games in a row to force a Game 7. On Saturday, Boston’s Derrick White tipped in the game-winning shot with 0.1 seconds on the clock to keep the Celtics alive. The Heat won the first three games in the series, including by a 26-point margin in Game 3.
The Heat will face the Denver Nuggets and Nikola Jokic in the Finals. The Nuggets are making their first-ever Finals appearance, while the Heat will make their seventh franchise appearance and their first since the 2020 bubble season.
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Here’s everything you need to know about the NBA Finals matchup:
How did the Heat-Nuggets fare during regular season?
The No. 1 seed Nuggets won both matchups against the No. 8 seed Heat during the regular season, once at home in Denver’s Ball Arena and on the road in Miami’s Kaseya Center:
- Dec. 30: Denver 124, Heat 119
- Jokic: 19 points, 12 rebounds, 12 assists
- Butler: 17 points, 8 assists, 4 steals
- Feb. 13: Denver 112, Heat 108
- Jokic: 27 points, 12 rebounds, 8 assists
- Butler: 24 points, 10 rebounds, 9 assists
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Is there a rivalry between the Heat and Nuggets?
Butler says there isn’t a rivalry between the Heat and Nuggets. “I don’t think that’s a rivalry. It sounds good. But I don’t even want to get into it. (Jokic) is a hell of a player,” Butler told Complex in February 2022.
But the Nuggets and Heat were involved in an altercation on Nov. 8, 2021, that resulted in a suspension for Jokic and a fine for Butler. Jokic shoved Markieff Morris (who’s now on the Dallas Mavericks) from behind following a hard foul from Morris. Heat players were upset at what they perceived to be a cheap shot from Jokic and Butler could be seen telling Jokic to “bring your (expletive) to the back.” A viral photo showed Butler, Kyle Lowry and Bam Adebayo lined up outside the Nuggets’ locker room postgame.
Jokic was ejected from the game and received a one-game suspension. Morris received a flagrant foul, $50,000 fine for his role and subsequently missed 58 games with whiplash. Butler received a technical foul and $30,000 fine “for attempting to escalate the altercation and failing to comply with an NBA Security interview as part of the review process pertaining to an on-court matter,” the league said. But it appears to be water under the bridge.
The 2023 NBA Finals schedule
- Game 1: Nuggets vs. Heat | Thursday, June 1 | 8:30 p.m. ET (ABC)
- Game 2: Nuggets vs. Heat | Sunday, June 4 | 8 p.m. ET (ABC)
- Game 3: Heat vs. Nuggets | Wednesday, June 7 | 8:30 p.m. ET (ABC)
- Game 4: Heat vs. Nuggets | Friday, June 9 | 8:30 p.m. ET (ABC)
- Game 5: Nuggets vs. Heat | Monday, June 12 | 8:30 p.m. ET (ABC) *
- Game 6: Heat vs. Nuggets | Thursday, June 15 | 8:30 p.m. ET (ABC) *
- Game 7: Nuggets vs. Heat | Sunday, June 18 | 8 p.m. ET (ABC) *