DENVER (AP) – The Denver Nuggets have won three straight defeats with a 103-87 victory over the Miami Heat Monday night, with Nikola Jokic's 23 points and 12 rebounds and Malik Beasley's 20 points.
The Nuggets have swept the heat season series for the first time since 2008-09 and have gone up to 18-1 while their opponents have less than 100 points.
This is the first time that they have done it since their 105 to 99 win in New Orleans on January 30th.
Denver moved away in the third quarter to avoid the worst skid of four games in its season in November, before recovering impressively to move up the West Conference ladder.
The Nuggets struggled with a 3-point defense in their defeats in Detroit, Brooklyn and Philadelphia last week, earning them a combined 48% long-term success rate in their East Coast momentum. And the Heat had just lost a heartbreaking two point loss to Golden State on Sunday, during which it sank 18 3 points.
"I hope that they have all their marks last night and that they have gone to San Francisco," said Nuggets coach Michael Malone before giving his opinion.
The Heat became cold long-range, finishing 9 of 23 for a 27% clip.
The Nuggets regained their shooting tactics by scoring 16 pts on three shots, including four in a 16-0 run that they had usually created with a 75-57 lead. Will Barton and Jamal Murray each hit both behind the back.
Jokic scored twice to score the last 8 points of Denver before the break, helping the Nuggets to take a 54-49 lead at half-time.
Justise Winslow led Miami with 15 points.
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra did not want to explain the Heat's 120-118 loss to Golden State a night earlier, after the NBA said Kevin Durant of the Warriors should have been called to an interrupted dribble in the final possession of his team.
Golden State made a pair of free throws on this possession, the last points of the match.
The League, in its report on the last two minutes published after close games, said it examined several video angles to determine that Durant's dribble was not interrupted by the inadvertent contacting of the foot or shin of Winslow and an interrupted dribble should have been called to Durant. "
The NBA also chose not to fine Spoelstra for its post-match commentary on refereeing and he stressed that he was not blaming officials for the loss of Miami.
"It's a double dribble. Everyone can see it, "said Spoelstra after the match. "These are tough calls to make, but everyone has seen it. It's there in front of everyone. This should be a violation and you can not miss these calls. But we had our chances. As I said, it was a back and forth. The officials – so be clear so that I do not get fined – that's not why we lost. "
Heat: Miami, the only team in the league with more victories on the road, dropped to 14-14 on the road. … Spoelstra watched before the face-to-face meeting with the top two teams of the Western Conference when he was face to face: "What do you want as a competitor? You want to be challenged, you want to be pushed. You want to know what you do collectively as a team. Can we bounce? We had two heavy defeats on the road. I prefer those times when you have a tough defeat and where you can bounce back 24 hours later, rather than waiting and simmering.
Nuggets: the Nuggets in the honor of the deceased Irv Brown at a stop in the first quarter with a video tribute to the former baseball coach of the University of Colorado, NCAA referee and longtime reporter in Denver, who died Feb. 3. In the first quarter, Mason Plumlee and Torrey Craig both missed dunks. … The Nuggets have improved to 24-4 at home.
Heat: Visit Dallas Wednesday night.
Nuggets: Welcome the Kings of Sacramento on Wednesday night.
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