Basketball players Denver with the NBA Champions Trophy, June 12, 2023.
Denver (USA) – The Denver Nuggets basketball players are NBA champions for the first time in their 47-year history. They closed the final series with the Miami Heat in the fifth game with a 94:89 home victory. Serbian pivot Nikola Jokic contributed 28 points and was voted the most valuable player in the title fight.
< img class="aligncenter" src="/wp-content/uploads/2023/06/0371d3800a3f2d1558437a8a7e32745b.jpg" alt="Jokic led Denver basketball players to first NBA title" />
Denver has never even been to the Finals. In this season, however, he made full use of his potential. It was the best team in the Western Conference and successively knocked out Minnesota (4:1 for games), Phoenix (4:2), Los Angeles Lakers (4:0) and Miami (4:1). In the history of the NBA, the Nuggets are the twenty-first club with a title.
At the same time, the Heat players played the fifth game well and led by ten points in the first half. Miami had a narrow lead until the last quarter. But then experienced pivot DeAndre Jordan spoke to the Nuggets players.
“The last twelve minutes and you're in history. Immortal. Go out there and win,” Jordan said and his teammates obeyed him. Especially Jamal Murray and Jokic, who scored 13 points in a row.
But then Miami's bland leader Jimmy Butler came to his senses. While he had only nine points up to that point, in three minutes he managed 12 points in a row and turned it to 89:88.
In the last two minutes, Denver's defense did not allow a single point. Bruce Brown added an important basket after an offensive rebound, then Kentavious Caldwell-Pope converted two free throws, and after Butler missed a three-pointer, Brown jumped the ball again and sealed the title with two sixes.
“Our job is to end and we can go home and celebrate,” declared Jokič. “Miami has a great team, they have my respect. Today was an ugly game, we couldn't hit for a long time, but we decided it with our defense. We only allowed them 89 points and that was the key,” added the Serbian pivot, who added 28 points 16 rebounds.
Next to Jokic, Denver was chasing the trophy with Murray, who collected 14 points, 8 rebounds and 8 assists in the last duel of the season. Michael Porter added 16 points and 13 rebounds. “All that dedication and sacrifice resulted in a title. But I'd like to say to everyone right now: This is great, but we're not satisfied. We want more. We want more,” Denver's celebrating coach Michael Malone yelled into the microphone.
NBA Playoff Finals – Game 5:
Denver – Miami 94:89 (22:24, 44:51, 70:71)
Most points: Jokič 28, Porter 16, Murray 14 – Butler 21, Adebayo 20, Strus and Lowry each 12. Final state of the series: 4:1.