The Nuggets are one win away from winning their first NBA Finals in franchise history.
Denver got it done once again against the Miami HEAT, 108-95, in Game 4 of the Finals. This was Denver's second-straight road win after dropping Game 2 at home, an excellent bounce-back that showed their character and toughness. Only one team has fought back from a 3-1 deficit in NBA Finals history, the 2016 Cleveland Cavaliers with LeBron James and Kyrie Irving, so Denver is sitting pretty.
Denver has outscored Miami by 36 total points in the NBA Finals. They've won by double-digits in all but one game out of the four.
Aaron Gordon was Denver's surprise hero with 27 points on 3 made three-pointers. His 15 points in the second quarter were absolutely massive for the Nuggets. 27 points represented a playoff career-high for Gordon.
Bruce Brown had 21 points off the bench, a high in the series for either team's reserves. 11 of those points came in the fourth quarter in highlight fashion. He hit a twisting layup at the rim and then a pull-up three-pointer off a series of crossovers as the nail in the coffin. His 21 points off the bench were the 19th most in NBA history as a backup in the NBA Finals.
Miami was led by Jimmy Butler, who put up 25 points on 9-of-17 shooting.
Denver did an excellent job avoiding overhelping on Butler's drives, thereby erasing Miami's three-point game. The HEAT finished just 8-of-25 from deep, their second-straight game shooting 32 percent or worse from distance. 25 three-pointers were their fewest long-range looks in the series after attempting at least 35 threes in the first 3 games.
Denver, meanwhile, shot 50 percent from deep on 28 total attempts. They also forced 15 HEAT turnovers, their most in the series, and they turned those giveaways into 17 points.
The first quarter was a low-scoring affair. Denver shot just 31.6 percent from the field yet got 12 combined points from Nikola Jokić and Jamal Murray. Behind Butler, who went 4-of-5 from the field and hit a buzzer-beating three-pointer for his 9th point, the HEAT entered the second quarter with a 21-20 lead.
Aaron Gordon got on the board with a transition three-pointer, a fadeaway jumper, and then a corner three in the face of Adebayo. Gordon kept pouring it in and reached 15 points on a gorgeous alley-oop dunk. Lowry pitched in 13 points off the bench, Butler and Adebayo reached 14 and 12 points apiece, but Denver entered the second half with a 55-51 lead.
Denver turned it into a 10-point game by cutting off-ball repeatedly. Denver stretched that advantage to as many as 13 points when Jokić hit a midrange jumper and a three-pointer when Miami sent two defenders Murray’s way, but the HEAT cut it down to 8 points. But then Gordon, the hero of the game, dropped home the final 7 points in the quarter, including a buzzer-beating three-pointer, to give the Nuggets an 86-73 lead heading into the fourth.
Jokić picked up his fifth foul at the 9-minute mark after a questionable call. Miami was able to whittle down the lead to 5 points, but then Denver got a heroic three-pointer from Murray and then a bucket at the cup from Gordon for his 27th point. Denver was able to withstand the minutes that Jokić sat with foul trouble and maintained a 9-point lead until he checked back in at the 4-minute mark.
Bruce Brown hit a floater late, plus the foul, and then beautifully sunk a twisting layup. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope hit a three in transition to seal the game, and then Brown poured in one last pull-up three-pointer as the cherry on top to send the Nuggets home to Denver with a 3-1 lead.