NBA Finals 2023: Keys to Game 5, and how the Miami Heat can keep their season alive

Bam Adebayo, right, and Miami will look to slow down Aaron Gordon after the Denver forward's monster Game 4. Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports

What would help the Miami Heat extend the NBA Finals to Game 6?

As the first team to reach the Finals through the play-in tournament, the eighth-seeded Heat have gotten used to overcoming history stacked against them. For stars Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo, Kyle Lowry & Co. to win the franchise's first title since 2013, they'll need to do it again, having fallen behind 3-1 after Friday's loss to the No. 1 seed Denver Nuggets.

Although comebacks from 3-1 deficits have become more common in recent years, including a pair by the Nuggets on neutral courts during the 2020 playoffs inside the NBA bubble in Orlando, Florida, those efforts typically don't involve a team winning two of its last three games on the road.

Since the playoffs expanded to 16 teams in 1984, and excluding the COVID-19 pandemic season, teams in Miami's position have gone 2-132 in the series, with the two comebacks from the Houston Rockets over the Phoenix Suns in the 1995 Western Conference finals and the Cleveland Cavaliers over the Golden State Warriors in the 2016 NBA Finals. Just 31 of Miami's 134 predecessors (23%) have avoided elimination in Game 5.

After losing Games 3 and 4 at home, how can the Heat steal Monday's Game 5 in Denver (8:30 p.m. ET, ABC) to keep their hopes alive?

Let's take a look at some key factors for Miami.

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