Denver Nuggets supporters continue celebrating after seeing their beloved team become NBA champions for the first time in its 56-year history. The Denver Nuggets brushed aside the Miami Heat 4-1 in the best-of-seven NBA Finals, which also happened to be the Nuggets’ first finals appearance.
Few people predicted the Denver Nuggets would become the 2023 NBA champions, despite vast improvements in recent seasons. The NBA Finals online betting markets essentially wrote off the Nuggets at the start of the season, but the boys from Colorado defied the odds to lift the world-famous Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy aloft. Not only did the Denver Nuggets return home with the trophy but they did so in emphatic style, neutralizing the Heat and brushing them aside 4-1 by Game 5.
Going into this season, the Denver Nuggets had topped the Northwest Division and finished second twice in the past four years. While their regular season form was good, they faltered in the playoffs each time. The 2021-22 playoffs were particularly disappointing, as the Nuggets were demolished 4-1 against the Golden State Warriors. The apparent playoffs hoodoo was the primary reason for bookmakers’ lack of faith in a Denver Nuggets championship victory.
An Indifferent Start and Finish to the Regular Season
The Denver Nuggets got off to an indifferent start to the 2022-23 season, finishing October with a 4-3 record. They managed to beat the Golden State Warriors on the road at the L.A. Lakers at their Ball Arena, which gave some indication of the Nuggets’ ability.
They put their foot on the gas in November, winning ten and losing only four games. Those four defeats came in the space of six games, and many Nuggets fans thought the wheels had fallen off even at this early stage of the season; they could not have been more wrong.
December, January, and February saw the Denver Nuggets take to the court 42 times, and they returned home with 30 victories under their belts. Everyone suddenly began taking the Nuggets seriously. Nikola Jokic was playing out of his skin, regularly finishing with the highest points and assists total.
March and April were slightly rocky, with the Nuggets going 7-7 in March and 2-3 in April, but their overall record of 53-29 was enough to win the Northwest Division and the Western Conference. The Nuggets finished fourth overall in the league.
Turning on the Style in the Playoffs
The Minnesota Timberwolves were the Nuggets’ opponents in the first round of the playoffs. Having finished 11 games behind the Nuggets during the regular season, the Timberwolves were overpowered, and the Nuggets ran out 4-1 winners. Jamal Murray stepped up to the plate against the Timberwolves, top scoring in three of the five games, including racking up 40 points in Game 2 as the Nuggets ran out 122-113 winners.
A seemingly sterner test awaited the Denver Nuggets in the Conference Semifinals because the 2021 NBA champions, the Pheonix Suns, were their opponents. The Nuggets soared into a 2-0 lead, but the Suns clawed their way back and tied the series 2-2. However, the Nuggets eventually ran out 4-2 winners, clinching a Conference Finals spot against the L.A. Lakers, the team they fell to the last time they reached this stage of the playoffs.
Seventeen-time champions LA Lakers were the Denver Nuggets’ opponents in the Conference Finals. The Lakers had finished ten games behind the Nuggets during the regular season campaign, but the Lakers have a stellar record in the playoffs, especially during the latter stages. However, history was not on the Lakers’ side as the Nuggets swept them 4-0 to set up their first-ever NBA Finals clash. They would face the Miami Heat in a best-of-seven match-up.
First-Ever NBA Finals for the Nuggets
The Miami Heat entered the finals as favorites, having endured a tough playoff bracket. Miami defeated the Milwaukee Bucks 4-1 and the New York Knicks 4-2 before getting involved in a thrilling Conference Final against the much-fancied Boston Celtics. Miami raced into a 3-0, but the Celtics pulled it back to 3-3, thus taking it to the final game. Miami’s 103-84 victory saw them progress to the NBA Finals.
Those basketball fans hoping for a similar closely fought battle were left slightly disappointed because the Nuggets turned on the style during the franchise’s first appearance in the NBA Finals.
Having beaten the Heat twice during the regular season, the Denver Nuggets won the first finals game 104-93. However, the Heat came out on top in Game 2 before the Nuggets turned on the style, winning the next three games with relative ease to clinch the NBA Finals by a 4-1 margin.
The future looks bright for the Denver Nuggets. Their roster may be relatively inexperienced, but it has the likes of Michael Porter Jr., Jamal Murray, and the fantastic Jokic all in their prime.
It is difficult to believe Joic was a second-round 41st overall pick back in 2014 because he would now get into any NBA team in the league. He ranks in the top 10 on the all-time list of NBA players with the most triple-doubles, and he seems to be getting better with age. Nobody deserved the Finals MVP award more than the 28-year-old Serbian. He ended the NBA Finals averaging 30.2 points, 14 rebounds, 7.2 assists, and 1.4 blocks. Those incredible figures meant he was the first player in NBA history to win to lead the postseason in points (600), rebounds (269), and assists (186).
Point guard Murray averaged 21.4 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 10 assists per Finals game, while small forward Porter Jr. also shone brightly in what was only his third season as a professional basketball player.
The combination of youthful exuberance and experience within the Nuggets camp should mean that this impressive victory should not be the only title the Nuggets win over the next few seasons. Even if they do not clinch another title soon, they will have a major say in who does. The future is bright fo the Nuggets.