The Denver Nuggets remain undefeated at home (9-0) in the playoffs. More important is that they’re 1-0 in the NBA Finals after a 104-93 victory in Game 1 on Thursday.
Here are five numbers to know from a game that the Nuggets led by as many as 24 points …
29.8, 13.1 and 10.5 — After recording his ninth triple-double (27, 10 and 14) of these playoffs, Nikola Jokic has averaged 29.8 points, 13.1 rebounds and 10.5 assists during the Nuggets’ 16-game playoff run.
Only one other player in NBA history has averaged a playoff triple-double with more than five games played. that was Jason Kidd, who averaged 14.6 points, 10.9 rebounds and 10.9 assists in 12 games in 2007. Jokic is more than doubling that scoring average and the Nuggets are now 35-3 (8-1 in the playoffs) when he’s recorded a triple-double this season.
2 — The Heat attempted just two free throws, the fewest in franchise history (3,091 total games, including regular season, Play-In and playoffs) and the fewest for any team in any playoff game in NBA history (4,359 total games).
The Heat outscored the Nuggets by 15 points from 3-point range, but the numbers inside the arc and at the line were in favor of Denver. Jimmy Butler came into this series with a free throw rate of 44.3 attempts per 100 shots from the field, the second highest rate among 47 players with at least 100 field goal attempts in the playoffs. He had zero free throw attempts in Game 1, just the 14th time in his career he’s played at least 35 minutes (486 total games) without attempting a single free throw.
25 — Bam Adebayo attempted 25 shots, the most in his career (485 total games).
That’s a good number for the Nuggets, especially if most of those shots are coming away from the rim. Adebayo was just 4-for-7 in the restricted area and 9-for-18 elsewhere. He doesn’t shoot 3-pointers, and a bunch of 8-12 footers (from anybody not named Jokic or Durant) are not going to beat you. The Nuggets were happy to give him those and an effective field goal percentage of 52%, even though it was better than the combined mark of everybody else on the Heat (45.8%) is certainly not a killer.
100.0 — The Heat scored 93 points on 93 possessions, 100.0 per 100, their least efficient offensive performance of the playoffs or Play-In (21 total games).
Miami is going to have a tough time defending what has been the most efficient offense in the playoffs. So it will need more offense than it got in Game 1 to win games in this series.
56.8% — Opponents have shot 56.8% from 2-point range against the Heat in the playoffs.
If there’s a weakness in the Heat’s defense, it’s defending shots inside the arc. They entered this series ranking 15th of 16 playoff teams in opponent 2-point percentage (56.5%). That number went up after Game 1, when the Nuggets shot 32-for-51 (62.7%) on 2-pointers. That included 7-for-9 from Aaron Gordon, 7-for-10 from Jokic, and 9-for-15 from Jamal Murray.