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Jimmy Butler insists Miami Heat will fight all the way after falling 3-1 down to Denver Nuggets

Aaron Gordon starred for Denver on Friday, putting up 27 points, while Nikola Jokic added 23.

The Nuggets were up by four points at the half, and took a firm of grip of proceedings during the third quarter where they moved 13 points ahead.

They had to cope without star man Jokic for a five-minute spell in the fourth quarter when he was benched by coach Michael Malone after picking up a fifth foul.

But Miami failed to take advantage, continuing to miss baskets on transition plays and unable to exploit the lack of the Serb’s presence in the paint.

Bruce Brown then delivered down the stretch, ending with 21 points on eight-of-11 shooting from the field as the Nuggets raced towards the finish line.

“Today was a team effort. I can’t even name one person,” said Denver guard Jamal Murray, who had 15 points and 12 assists, maintaining his record of double-figure assists in each game in the series.

“Everybody locked in and we’ve got one more to go.

“I give all my credits to my teammates. They did a great job. We’ve got to do that for one more game and we get our goal. We just need to stay level-headed, stay focused.” AFP

MIAMI – At the end of a season in which they have overturned the odds more than once to reach the National Basketball Association (NBA) Finals, the Miami Heat hope they can pull off another upset despite going 3-1 down in the series with a 108-95 defeat on Friday.

Miami’s win in Denver in Game 2 last Sunday gave them the belief that they could go all the way, but two straight losses on their home court have left them on the brink of elimination.

Heat star Jimmy Butler, however, believes that his team – the eighth seeds in the Eastern Conference – have the character and ability to still win in the best-of-seven series and crush Denver’s dream of a first NBA title.

“Now we are in a must-win situation every single game, which we’re capable of,” he said.

“It’s not impossible. We’ve got to go out there and do it. We’ve got three (games) to get.

“We are going to continually fight, starting tomorrow. And then we are going into Monday and do what we said we were going to do this entire time and win. We have to. We have no other choice. Otherwise, we did all this for no reason.”

Whatever adjustments Miami make, Butler – who led the Heat with 25 points on Friday – added that he was not about to start ignoring his shooters and playing a more selfish game, even if the likes of Max Strus and Gabe Vincent have struggled in the past two games.

“No, I won’t do it. I’ve got too much faith in my guys,” he said.

“Their shots will fall. They have been the reason behind us winning so many games, and I’m not letting that faith in them waver. I’m going to continue to play basketball the right way, pump confidence in those guys, and we are going to always live with the result.”

Miami coach Erik Spoelstra knows that games in the play-off series can have plenty of twists and turns and that it is not always easy to close them out, even if a team were leading 3-1.

“I’ve been in those games, Game 5. Those are not the easiest games, at home,” he said of the task facing the Nuggets.

“We have an incredibly competitive group. We’ve done everything the hard way, and that’s the way it’s going to have to be done right now, again.

“It’s going to be a gnarly game in Denver that is built for the competitors that we have in our locker room. Our guys are built for that.”

The Heat had to take the play-in route to even reach the play-offs and then upset the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks to fuel their post-season run, so they will take confidence in how they have made it this far.