On Monday evening, the Denver Nuggets are hosting the Miami Heat at Ball Arena in Colorado for Game 5 of the NBA Finals.
For the game, both teams have finalized their injury reports and starting lineups.
The Heat have ruled out two-time NBA All-Star Victor Oladipo, while Tyler Herro, Bam Adebayo, Gabe Vincent and Cody Zeller are all available.
Meanwhile, the Nuggets have no one on their injury report, so they are fully healthy for Game 5.
The Serbian big man was voted Most Valuable Player of the NBA Finals, and is the first center to win the award named after the late Bill Russell since Shaquille O’Neal of the Lakers in 2002.
Nuggets coach Michael Malone said,”Nikola Jokić is a great person. He’s a great husband, father and son and brother. And on the basketball court he has proven time and time again that he’s the best player in the NBA. He’s our MVP, we love him and we’re thankful that he’s wearing a Nuggets’ uniform.”
The 28-year-old Jokić posted 10 total triple-doubles to pass Wilt Chamberlain (seven) for most all-time in a single playoff run. He also finished the postseason as the first player in NBA history to lead all players in points, rebounds, and assists in a single postseason, according to Stats & Info.
Jimmy Butler had 21 points and Bam Adebayo had 20 to lead Miami, which as an eight-seed had surprised the NBA by advancing to the Finals.
Denver struggled from the free throw and 3-point lines but led by as many as seven points in the fourth quarter. But the Heat went on a 13-5 run and led by one point, 89-88, with 1:58 left in the contest.
Denver scored the game’s final six points with Bruce Brown knocking in a putback layup with 91 seconds left, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Brown hitting free throws as the final minute played out. Miami couldn’t connect as Heat players tried several 3-pointers.
“There’s no regrets on our end. There’s just sometimes where you get beat, you know, and Denver was the better basketball team in this series,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “I would say that it will probably rank as our hardest, competitive, most active defensive game of the season, and it still fell short.”
The Nuggets were victorious despite being 5-for-28 on 3’s – they missed 20 of their first 22 attempts – and 13-23 at the free throw line.
The Nuggets, who played in the American Basketball Association for nine seasons beginning in 1967, joined the NBA before the 1976-1977 season.
“Parity is at a pretty high level and many teams are a healthy roster or a solid player add away from being legitimate title contenders. The odds reflect how close many teams currently are to taking the next step, similar to the one that the Nuggets have made this season,” Lieberman said.
The Miami Heat pulled off an improbable run to capture the Eastern Conference as an eight-seed. The Heat entered the postseason at 150-1 odds and now are 18-1 for next year.
“I didn’t want to go too high on them,” SuperBook head NBA oddsmaker Jeff Sherman. “After falling short to Denver, they could be aggressive and who knows if they trade for someone like Damian Lillard. I don’t think they’ll just bring back the same team and hope it’s going to be better next year.”
Each offseason challenges oddsmakers to anticipate player movement in the form of trades and free agency. The Memphis Grizzlies (22-1) finished with the Western Conference’s second seed but face uncertainty surrounding the impending suspension of two-time All-Star Ja Morant.
In the first major domino of free agency, Toronto Raptors All-Star guard Fred VanVleet has declined his $22.8 million player option and will become an unrestricted free agent in July, sources on Monday.
VanVleet hasn’t ruled out negotiating a new deal and a Raptors return, sources said, but he becomes one of the most prominent guards in the marketplace and an immediate target of teams with cap space and several contenders who’d welcome discussions on sign-and-trade scenarios with Toronto, sources said.
There are teams with and without salary cap space who’ll have the mechanisms to pursue VanVleet, who has consistently shown himself to be a lead guard with the capacity to impact winning for the Raptors.
VanVleet ranked third in the NBA in steals (1.8) and first in deflections per game, according to Stats & Information. His standing in Raptors history has been impactful. He’s one of two players (with Kyle Lowry) to have 1,000 3-pointers. He’s also one of two players to have a franchise’s single-game record for points and assists — along with Wilt Chamberlain and the 76ers, per Stats & information.
Over the past three seasons, VanVleet has averaged 37.1 minutes a game — second most in the NBA only behind his teammate Pascal Siakam. In fact, VanVleet led the NBA in miles covered per game in each of the past three seasons, per Second Spectrum tracking data.
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