MIAMI – – The Miami Heat said 19,600 fans attended their home game on Monday night.
At least two of them left happy.
Nikola Jokic – with his two brothers behind the Denver bench – returned and scored 24 points, Aaron Gordon added 20 and the Nuggets ended their longest losing streak in nearly six years by beating the Heat 120 -111 outnumbered Monday night.
âIt’s behind us,â Jokic said. “We have to move on in the future. We won the game and that’s the most important thing.”
Bones Hyland came back from injury to score 19 points and Will Barton added 14 for the Nuggets, who had lost six in a row. Jokic hadn’t played in the last four due to a wrist injury, but finished with 15 rebounds and seven assists.
âI pulled the lights off the ball,â Hyland said after getting 5 for 8 on 3 points.
Denver shot 58 percent on the day it was revealed Michael Porter Jr. would need back surgery. Porter has been limited to just nine games this season.
Bam Adebayo finished with 24 points and 13 rebounds for Miami, who were without their top two scorers – Jimmy Butler came out with a bruised tailbone and Tyler Herro missed the game with what the Heat called aches. Adebayo collected 15 of his points in the third quarter.
“Our defense is better than that,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “I think they played extremely well. And in those pivotal moments of the game, it seemed like they had pulled off every shot, every game.”
Max Strus scored 19 points and Caleb Martin added 18 for the Heat, who had 17 points and 14 assists from Kyle Lowry.
It was the teams’ first meeting since the fall between Jokic and Miami’s Markieff Morris on November 8. Morris committed a harsh foul that the Nuggets felt was overzealous; Jokic responded with a push behind Morris. Morris has now missed 11 games with what the Heat described as a neck injury.
Jokic said he had not spoken to Morris since. Heat fans booed Jokic every time he touched the ball, and the reigning MVP didn’t seem to care.
âI played in Serbia, brother,â Jokic said.
Jokic’s brothers – Strahinja and Nemanja – have embarked on a Twitter game with Markieff Morris’ twin brother, Marcus Morris. The Jokic brothers, who have drawn attention for their reactions to certain games in the past, were in Miami for Monday’s game, sitting right behind the Denver bench.
âThey come here because it’s Miami and I know for a fact that they were able to come every year, without COVID, they’ve been here,â Nuggets coach Michael Malone said. âAnd it’s not to cause trouble. It’s just to support their brother, which they always do.
There was no fighting in this one. It was just basketball, and pretty one-sided for most of the night.
A 12-0 run for the Nuggets in the second quarter – with Miami missing 10 straight shots – gave Denver a 50-35 lead. The lead was 63-43 at halftime, the biggest deficit the Heat have faced at intermission so far this season.
The only time Denver’s lead fell to single digits after half-time was when 0.9 seconds remained, when Gabe Vincent scored 3 points on the last shot of the game.
Nuggets: Malone used a challenge just 2:05 into the game, with good reason. He canceled an offensive foul, which would have been Barton’s second staff, and got two points in Denver. â¦ The Nuggets are 4-0 when Hyland scores in double digits.
Heat: Miami is 0-4 in double-digit halftime games, 13-4 in all other games. â¦ Adebayo’s top quarterback is 19, set Nov 11 in the first quarter against the Los Angeles Clippers.
Heat forward PJ Tucker, fashion enthusiast and shoe collector, paid tribute to fashion designer Virgil Abloh on Monday with his sneakers. “Virgil will always be with us,” Tucker scribbled on his gaming sneakers in honor of Abloh, whose death was announced on Sunday.
Here’s a weather quirk for the end of November: About 90 minutes before the game, it was 68 degrees in Denver, one degree higher than in Miami. Things should be closer to normal in both cities by the end of the week, with Saturday’s high in Miami expected to be in the ’80s and the highest in Denver set to hover in the’ 50s. .
Nuggets: Visit Orlando Wednesday.
Heat: Cleveland host Wednesday.