Stat Padders

The Official Site of the Michigan Basketball Analytics Association

Mike Bets #535

4 min read

Happy Wednesday. We have some momentum heading into Game 3 of The Finals after both the Heat spread and the over hit in Game 2. Miami has made this a series, but Denver can flip the script right back in their favor with a win tonight. Let’s keep it rolling. But first, a look at the Game 2 action…

  • Heat 111, Nuggets 108 (Tied 1-1)

Game 1 came down to the Heat playing rather poorly while the Nuggets played well. Game 2 was largely the opposite. It should be somewhat encouraging to Denver that Miami needed a fourth-quarter comeback to take this one. They were +18 from the perimeter. The starters, especially Bam Adebayo and Gabe Vincent, were excellent for the Heat. Max Strus hit four of ten threes. Duncan Robinson continued to provide a spark by doing more than shooting, and he was the key to a big run at the start of the fourth quarter that helped get Miami back into it. On the bright side for the Heat, they weren’t quite at full capacity either. Jimmy Butler continues to struggle with his efficiency. He’s 10-26 on twos so far in this series, which is just not very good. It’s been a while since we’ve seen Butler making his shots at a good clip; he’s shot below 43% from the floor in six of seven games. The Heat could really use a flip in production there. Caleb Martin has been non-existent as a scorer too, shooting just 2-10 from the floor through two games. You’d have to hope that flips as well, even if he doesn’t return to the nearly 20 ppg form he was able to produce in the ECF. All of this is to say two things. First, the Heat needed to play well last night, which included a significant advantage from deep, to grab a narrow road win. Again, there are some positives for the Nuggets to take from that, especially given their own performance. But they also didn’t play unsustainably well. This wasn’t necessarily a one-off showing given the room for improvement from Butler and Martin. There’s also Tyler Herro waiting in the wings. He won’t play tonight, but he might be able to return and provide an offensive boost at some point in this series.

That brings us to the Nuggets, who had a weird game. Jeff Green, Christian Braun, and Bruce Brown were their only players with positive +/-‘s, which is a thing that no one would have expected to happen in Game 2 of The Finals. MPJ was bad. KCP was ineffective. The Heat did a decent job of limiting Jamal Murray’s scoring opportunities. And Jokic, despite scoring 41, struggled to have his usual impact. It’s a simple reality that Jokic became a little too narrowly focused the other night. He’s averaging over 82 passes per game in the playoffs. He made 78 in Game 1, which pretty much tracks with that number. He made just 68 in Game 2, which is obviously a far cry from the average. In Game 1, he had 17 potential assists and 2 secondary assists. In Game 2, he had 11 potential assists and 0 secondary assists. Those are really significant differences. Now yes, some shots were missed. Jokic’s teammates converted just 4 of those 11 potential assists after going 14-17 in Game 1. But the difference lies in Jokic prioritizing his own shot and in Miami being a little more aggressive in passing lanes and on the catch. It’s absolutely true, as Eric Spoelstra suggested post-game, that there’s no “forcing” someone like Jokic into a certain play style. To say that he was turned into a scorer is a little simplistic. But it’s also not that far from the truth. He was far less of a playmaker for others in Game 2, and that’s part of the reason the Nuggets weren’t very good in his minutes. Denver will need to adjust.


✅✅✅ = right team, right number of games

✅✅ = right team, one game off

✅ = right team

❌ = wrong team

First round tally: 4-4 on team picks, 2 within a game 

Second round tally: 2-2 on team picks, 1 exactly right on games

Conference finals tally: 2-0 on team picks, 1 exactly right on games

Overall: 8-6, 2 within a game, 2 exactly right


Nuggets in 6 (Bucks > Grizzlies – yikes – was original pick)


NBA record: 256-219-8 ATS, 35-81 ML, 139-115-6 O/U, 2-10 parlay, 0-2 props, 2-3 series price -32.57 units

NBA regular season record: 225-198-7 ATS, 32-67 ML, 116-90-3 O/U, 2-10 parlay, 0-1 props, -23.62 units

NBA postseason record: 31-21-1 ATS, 4-14 ML, 23-24-3 O/U, 0-1 props, 2-3 series price, -8.95 units

  • Nuggets -3.5
  • Nuggets Heat O213.5


  • Nuggets 4-2 (+450)

CBB record: 254-229-12 ATS, 57-83 ML, 5-5 O/U, 17-25 parlay, -9.83 units

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