If there is a defining quality of the Miami Heat -- something that explains what might already be the greatest in-season turnaround in NBA history -- it is some combination of ferocity and ingenuity.
For all the attention (invited to a degree by Erik Spoelstra's clipped postgame response) on how the Heat allegedly "turned Nikola Jokic into a scorer," Miami snared Game 2 in Denver behind a scorching offensive performance somewhat masked by the game's slow pace. The Heat poured in almost 130 points per 100 possessions -- miles better than the league's No. 1 offense. They hit almost half their 3s and won the turnover battle -- key in limiting Denver's dangerous transition game.
A few of their 3s resulted from borderline inexplicable Denver breakdowns -- botched switches, miscommunications, poor rotations. Michael Porter Jr. played perhaps his worst game of the season, committing one defensive blunder after another until coach Michael Malone yanked him for Bruce Brown. How Porter -- 7-of-24 through two games -- bounces back looms as one pivot point of these Finals.
But Miami conjured a good number of 3s because it never stops playing -- prodding and screening and cutting until something cracks. If you keep moving with purpose, you maximize the odds the defense slips up -- that, maybe, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope will run into a cement-wall Bam Adebayo screen, transforming what appeared to be a dead possession into an open Kyle Lowry pull-up 3. (The Heat, per usual, are gaming the math: 30-of-74 on 3s to 19-of-55 for Denver.)
After Game 1, the Heat understood Denver would drop Jokic back against Butler pick-and-rolls and send a third defender in from the weak side to protect Jokic (and snuff lobs to Adebayo). Butler and Gabe Vincent baited that defense with calculated drives underneath the basket, sucking in help and testing the Nuggets' rotations back outside. Even when Denver was up to it, Miami could still leverage the Nuggets' scrambling into good 3s: