Historically, the Miami Heat never play well in Denver. Is it because of the altitude? Who knows. But the trend continued on Monday night. Despite missing key players, the Denver Nuggets imposed their will on the offensive end and didn’t look back. The first half saw the Heat fall behind 15 points at the half. The Heat struggled on both ends of the floor. Miami made it interesting late but the Nuggets pulled away. With the loss, Miami moves to 7-3 for the season. Here are my three takeaways from the Heat’s loss in Denver.
Jokic’s Cheap Shot
It was already an ugly night for the Heat. It got worse late in the fourth period when Nikola Jokic gave Markieff Morris a blind-sided cheap shot to the back. Morris stayed down for a while but eventually got up on his own. Both Morris and Jokic were ejected from the game. Jimmy Butler was given a technical foul after the skirmish. After that, the Heat pulled their starters from the game. It was a needed move by Miami with the game out of reach. Miami has four more games remaining on their road trip.
wait what is happening pic.twitter.com/ZGmZAAPR8n— Steve Jones Jr. (@stevejones20) November 9, 2021
The expectation is Jokic could be receiving a suspension for his actions. How many games are left to be determined by the league office.
Heat’s Lack of Defense
Miami has been one of the top five defensive teams in the league. However, it was nonexistent in the first half. The Nuggets kept getting to the rim at will. The Heat’s point of attack defense was not there at all. Even though they’re short on shot creators, Jokic’s passing ability created multiple scoring opportunities off Miami’s help defense. Whenever the Heat tried to double him, Jokic kept finding his teammates for easy scoring opportunities. The Nuggets also got in the open court before Miami could set their defense. The Nuggets finished the night with 50 points in the paint.
Little support for Butler
Butler had a great first half with 21 points. He did the majority of his work in the paint early. Unfortunately, the rest of his teammates struggled on the offensive end. Kyle Lowry went scoreless in 37 minutes of action. Bam Adebayo was limited by Jokic’s defense. Tyler Herro didn’t have much going either off the bench. Butler was silent in the second half until he hit a couple of threes late the fourth period. Overall, it wasn’t a great night for the Heat’s offense. They need it to be better for the rest of the road trip. Butler ended the night with 31 points, five rebounds, and eight assists.
Next up: The Los Angeles Lakers. Game tips off at 10 pm on Wednesday.
Follow Jacari McRae on Twitter @JMcRae23
Main Image designed by Jeremy Guerin @jeremycguerin