The Denver Nuggets did not underestimate the Miami Heat heading into the 2023 NBA Finals. After a scorching playoff run that featured slaying two Eastern Conference giants, the Heat have won the world’s respect. However, as Michael Porter Jr. pointed out, the respect the Heat is gaining from their opponents grows even stronger as they get closer to executing and implementing their game plan.
The detail with which the Heat deconstruct the Nuggets defense has been astounding, as the Nuggets’ 24-year-old pointed out during the 2023 NBA Finals Game 3 pre-game interviews. When the Nuggets express particular coverages, the Heat responds fast and effectively, according to Porter.
“They are hearing what we are saying to each other and doing the reverse. If we say’switch,’ they’ll go for open threes. “If we don’t say’switch,’ they’ll actually set the screen,” Porter claimed, according to Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald.
Of course, reacting to what the defense offers you and doing what needs to be done to break through the defense is a trademark of any winning offense. Furthermore, the Heat’s reactions to the Nuggets’ defensive coverage are undoubtedly based on more sophisticated understandings of their opponents’ personnel.
Perhaps the Heat is focusing on the Nuggets’ penchant to switch whenever particular players are involved in a defensive play during video sessions. Or perhaps they have mastered the Nuggets’ situational patterns; perhaps the Nuggets have a stronger tendency to switch late in the shot clock.
Nonetheless, the Heat deserves praise for their tremendous level of preparation as well as their teamwork. It’s difficult enough to perform on offense this far into the playoffs, but maintaining a mind-meld with your teammates even when the heat is on is a credit to their focus.
Head coach Erik Spoelstra deserves a lot of credit as well; he should be worth the next contract he gets, whether from the Heat or another team.
In terms of the Nuggets, they may need to tighten up defensively or show the Heat some rarely utilized coverages to throw them off in Game 3.