Denver Wins NBA Title, Jokic Wins Finals MVP

Alex Campbell
FiredUp Network Sports Writer


Tuesday, June 13, 2023

Congratulations to the Denver Nuggets! They defeat the Miami Heat 94-89 in game 5 and win their first NBA title. 

Miami started out with a 5-0 run but then went cold and went 10 straight possessions before ending the drought on a Max Strus and one drive to the rim.  The first quarter ended with Miami up two, 24-22.  The Heat zone defense continued to frustrate Denver through the second quarter, and both teams started to really clamp down defensively as the first half came to a close with the Heat up 51-44. Jamal Murray had struggled for most of the night, but then early on in the 3rd quarter Jokic set a pick at the top of the key and while Gabe Vincent fought hard through it, his footing was impacted just enough and Murray was able to blow by him and finish at the rim with a pretty finger roll layup.  That seemed to spark something on offense for the Nuggets.  As the game went on they got Miami to switch defenders in the Pick and Roll more which created easy one-on-one matchups for Nikola Jokic against Miami's guards.  Murray hit a transition three in the corner to tie the game at 60 with 3 minutes to play in the third and it was a rock fight from there to the end.  Both teams tightened the screws defensively even more and it was back 'n forth with 6 lead changes in the 4th quarter alone.  What really separated them at the end was that the Nuggets ball movement was able to find open shooters in the closing moments while Miami just force fed it to Jimmy Butler.  He was able to hit back to back threes and a contested shot near the rim on three consecutive series with under 2 minutes to play, and he gave Miami a one point lead 87-86.  A few plays later Bruce Brown did his best Derrick White impression with a key put back of a Jamal Murray brick to put the Nuggets back up by one.  And then Butler tried to do too much and got stuck in the lane, made a bad pass, it was intercepted by KCP and Miami fouled him immediately as only 24 seconds remained in the game.  The 10 year NBA Journeyman Caldwell-Pope, with ice in his veins, hit the next two free throws to put the Nuggets up 92-89.  On the next play Duncan Robinson passes it to Butler who dribbles twice and then hoists up a three over Aaron Gordon.  The ball clanks off the rim, Bruce Brown secures the rebound, and a few free throws later the Nuggets are world Champions.

Jokic had 28 points to go with 16 rebounds, Michael Porter Jr. chipped in 16 and 13 rebounds as well.  Jamal Murray struggled in the first half offensively but finished with 14, 8, and 8 after a strong second half performance.  For the Heat, Jimmy Butler led all scores with 21 points but he also struggled early on like Murray.  Bam Adebayo played well this whole series and provided 20 points and 12 rebounds in tonight's effort.  Kyle Lowry played key minutes and scored 12 points and grabbed an amazing 9 rebounds with sheer tenacity.  

It never gets old watching a team lift the Larry O'Brien trophy, and the Nuggets players and fans displayed pure joy in their celebrations tonight. It was just such a pleasure to watch, knowing this means a lot to the people of Denver as well, it's one of the most underrated sports towns in America.  The Stars were out in the Mile High city tonight too.  Peyton Manning, Russell Wilson, Ciara, and Sean Payton were all in attendance.  Manning cheered the hardest out of the bunch, and he was really pulling for the Nuggets.