Heat on a comeback run like few others
The easiest way to explain what the Miami Heat are doing in the comeback department during these play-offs is simply, to put up their numbers against the rest of the league.
When facing a deficit of at least 12 points this postseason:
The Heat are 7-6. The rest of the NBA is 6-59. Combined.
"Biggest thing for us, we had the will, and we had the belief," Heat centre Bam Adebayo said. "And we keep finding ways to win."
Doesn't matter the opponent, either. Milwaukee, New York, Boston and now Denver in the NBA play-offs all have found themselves on the wrong end of a Heat rally.
Miami rallied from 15 points down to beat top-seeded Milwaukee in Game 4 and then from 16 down to win the clinching Game 5; from 12 down to win Game 1 over New York and from 14 down in Game 6 to eliminate the Knicks; erased a 13-point deficit in Game 1 at Boston and then a 12-point deficit to win Game 2 over the Celtics -- and now, a 15-point comeback to win Game 2 of the NBA Finals over Denver.
Sunday night's rally matched the fifth-largest in a finals game in the last 25 years. The Heat trailed the Nuggets 50-35 with five minutes left in the second quarter and outscored Denver 76-58 the rest of the way to even the series. The series now shifts to Miami, with both teams practising there today before Game 3 tomorrow night.
This improbable story -- a team that trailed in the final minutes of an elimination game of the play-in tournament somehow getting to the NBA Finals -- now has an even wackier plot twist. The eighth-seeded Heat have home-court advantage in the title series over Denver, the No. 1 seed out of the Western Conference.
"We've won on the road before," Nuggets veteran Jeff Green said after Game 2 in Denver. "I think we understand what's at stake. They did what they were supposed to do. They came in here, got a split. Now they're going home, and I think we have to go in there worried about Game 3. We can't worry about Game 4. We have to worry about Game 3."
What Miami is doing is simultaneously historic and completely on brand for the Heat. There have been four teams in the last 25 years to have seven postseason wins after trailing by double digits in a game; Golden State did it last year on the way to the NBA title.
The other three teams on that list? The 2011 Heat, the 2012 Heat, and now the 2023 Heat -- all coached by Erik Spoelstra.