After dropping Game 1, Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra is going with a different look to open Game 2 of the NBA Finals.
Miami is making a major change to its starting lineup, inserting veteran forward Kevin Love, who has not seen any playing time in each of the Heat’s last three games. Love last played in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals.
Love has appeared in 16 of Miami’s 19 playoff games and made 14 starts. In 18.0 minutes per game, Love is averaging 6.9 points and 5.8 rebounds. His best performance came in Game 5 of the first round when he recorded a 15-point, 12-rebound double-double against Milwaukee before fouling out.
Here’s a look into why Spoelstra is making a switch ahead of a crucial game against the Nuggets.
Heat starting lineup in Game 2 of NBA Finals
- Starting lineup: Gabe Vincent, Max Strus, Jimmy Butler, Kevin Love, Bam Adebayo
Love’s insertion into the starting lineup signals that the Heat will move forward Caleb Martin to the bench. Martin, who struggled in Game 1, also missed Miami’s most recent practice with an illness.
K Love back in the first 5 pic.twitter.com/7fJdhYLyyk
— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) June 4, 2023
By going with Love, the Heat add another big man to their starting lineup as they look to combat the size of Nikola Jokic (6-11), Michael Porter Jr. (6-10) and Aaron Gordon (6-8). In Game 1 of the series, Gordon feasted on Miami’s smaller defenders, and Jokic finished with 27 points, 14 assists and 10 rebounds.
Love is listed at 6-8, but during this postseason, he has played bigger than his height would suggest. He also brings Finals experience, as Game 2 will be his 17th game in the Finals.
Ahead of Game 2, Spoelstra had this to say of Love: “I had every intention to play him in Game 1, and everything went a bunch of different ways.”
Erik Spoelstra on Kevin Love: “I had every intention to play him in Game 1, and everything went a bunch of different ways…He brings that championship level experience… He has a timeliness of his winning plays.”
— Harrison Wind (@HarrisonWind) June 4, 2023
Heat starting lineups in NBA Finals vs. Nuggets
- Game 1: Gabe Vincent, Max Strus, Caleb Martin, Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo
- Game 2: Gabe Vincent, Max Strus, Jimmy Butler, Kevin Love, Bam Adebayo
How to watch Nuggets vs. Heat Game 2
- Date: Sunday, June 4
- Time: 8 p.m. ET | 5 p.m. PT
- TV channel: ABC
- Live stream: Sling TV
Game 2 of the 2023 NBA Finals is scheduled to tip off around 8 p.m. ET on Sunday, June 4. It will air on ABC. Viewers in the United States can also live stream Nuggets vs. Heat on Sling TV.
Fans in the U.S. can watch the NBA Finals on Sling TV, which is now offering half off your first month! Stream the sports you love starting at just $20 in your first month with Sling Orange to catch all the games on ABC.