The Heat set an unfortunate NBA Finals record in Game 1 against the Nuggets, which contributed greatly to the game's result. Jun 1, 2023; Denver, CO, USA; Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra and center Omer Yurtseven (77) walk off the court after losing against the Denver Nuggets in game one of the 2023 NBA Finals at Ball Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Two kinds of history can be made in the NBA Finals. The first is the kind that everyone sets out to make. Of course, the second is the history that no player or team wants any part of. Unfortunately for the Miami Heat, they made the latter kind of history in Thursday night’s Game 1 against the Denver Nuggets.

Throughout the first three rounds of the NBA Playoffs, Miami did a good job getting its way to the free-throw line. The Heat averaged 21 free throw attempts per contest in their games against the Milwaukee Bucks, New York Knicks and Boston Celtics. Game 1 of the Finals was a different story.

If you’re looking for good news, the Heat shot 100% from the free-throw line. The bad news? Miami attempted only two free throws, an NBA Finals record.

At least partially, this can be attributed to playing on the road. Teams tend to get more foul calls going their way when they’re at home. Case in point, Games 5 and 7 against the Celtics (both in Boston), the Heat attempted 10 and 6 free throws, respectively. During Game 6 in Miami, they attempted 29.

But Game 1 was not particularly controversial as far as officiating goes.

The larger issue for the Heat was that they did not attack the rim nearly enough. A lot like the Celtics did in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals, Miami lived on the three-point line, attempting 39 threes in Game 1.

Somehow, the Heat are going to have to find a way to get to the charity stripe a lot more as this series develops. If that doesn’t happen, don’t expect a long series.

[ESPN Stats & Info]

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