The Miami Heat came into the Pepsi Center Monday night and defeated the Denver Nuggets by the score of 97-94. LeBron James returned to the Miami Heat lineup after sitting out a game due to a groin injury and didn’t miss a beat. The forward would nearly record a triple-double on his birthday, scoring 26 points adding 6 rebounds, 10 assists, and a block. Dwayne Wade would leave the game after Jordan Hamilton collided with the all-star. Wade would play just 18 minutes going 6-for-9 from the field adding 12 points. Norris Cole would also leave the game in the third quarter after falling on a lay-up attempt, hitting his face on the ground. Cole wouldn’t be able to return to the game due to the fact he didn’t shoot the free-throws.
Ray Allen was a key part of the Heat’s win, scoring 6 of his 13 points in the final five minutes of the game. Michael Beasley hit what would be the dagger with a three-pointer with under a minute to go. Denver would have one last chance down 97-94, but J.J. Hickson would fail to get the inbounds pass off resulting in a five-second violation. Chris Bosh was solid for the Heat in the post, dropping 17 points on 8-of-12 shooting with 5 rebounds. Ty Lawson kept the Denver Nuggets in the game scoring 26 points with 2 rebound and 7 assists.
Darrell Arthur played well for the Nuggets off the bench, shooting 6-for-14 from the field with a three-pointer, adding 13 points and 4 rebounds. Randy Foye played one of his best games, shooting 4-for-6 from the field with 7 assists to go along with 11 points. The Miami Heat as a team shot 11-for-23 from downtown, 47.8% percent while five of them came from James. Wilson Chandler scored 13 points but rushed many of his shots. The forward would shoot 6-of-17 from the field, while going 1-for-6 from deep.
Bottom line is the Denver Nuggets miss Danilo Gallinari and JaVale McGee in games like these. McGee creates mismatches in the post with the small Heat lineup, altering their shots in the paint while Gallo gives Denver a closing option late in the game, taking the pressure off of Lawson and Chandler who aren’t closers.
The Nuggets (14-16) have lost seven-straight and will take on the Philadelphia 76ers on January 1st at the Pepsi Center. Tip-off is scheduled for 9:00 PM ET, 7:00 PM MT.