The Denver Nuggets have made history by winning their first NBA championship after defeating the Miami Heat 94-89 in Game 5 of the Finals on Monday night. The Nuggets, who were the fifth seed in the Western Conference, overcame a 2-1 series deficit and a resilient Heat team that pushed them to the limit in every game. Here are some of the key takeaways from the epic Game 5 that crowned the Nuggets as the new kings of the NBA.
Jokić leads the way with MVP performance
Nikola Jokić, who was named the regular season MVP, proved why he deserved the award with a dominant performance in Game 5. The Serbian center had 28 points, 15 rebounds and eight assists, while shooting 11-of-19 from the field and 3-of-6 from beyond the arc. He also had two blocks and two steals, and was a plus-13 in his 41 minutes of action.
Jokić was unstoppable in the paint, where he scored 18 of his points and drew fouls from the Heat defenders. He also showcased his versatility and playmaking skills, hitting clutch 3-pointers and finding his teammates for easy baskets. Jokić was especially effective in the fourth quarter, when he scored 10 points and dished out four assists to help the Nuggets close out the game.
Jokić became the first player in NBA history to average at least 25 points, 10 rebounds and five assists while shooting over 50% from the field and over 40% from 3-point range in a single postseason. He also joined Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Hakeem Olajuwon and Tim Duncan as the only players to win both MVP and Finals MVP awards in their careers.
Murray and Porter Jr. provide crucial support
Jokić was not alone in his quest for glory, as he received ample support from his teammates, especially Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. Murray, who missed most of the regular season due to a torn ACL, returned to action in Game 4 of the Finals and gave the Nuggets a huge boost. The Canadian guard scored 23 points in Game 5, including four 3-pointers and a clutch jumper with 1:01 left that gave the Nuggets a six-point lead.
Porter Jr., who emerged as a star in his third season, also had a big game for the Nuggets. The young forward had 22 points and nine rebounds, while shooting 8-of-15 from the field and 4-of-9 from beyond the arc. He also played solid defense on Jimmy Butler, who was held to just eight points on 3-of-13 shooting.
Murray and Porter Jr. combined for 45 points and eight 3-pointers, giving Jokić the offensive firepower he needed to overcome the Heat’s defense. The duo also showed great chemistry and confidence, as they took turns making big shots and plays for the Nuggets.
Heat fall short despite valiant effort
The Miami Heat deserve a lot of credit for their performance in the Finals, as they gave the Nuggets a tough challenge despite being underdogs. The Heat, who were the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference, upset the Milwaukee Bucks and the Brooklyn Nets to reach their second consecutive Finals appearance. They also fought hard in every game against the Nuggets, losing by an average margin of only five points.
The Heat were led by Bam Adebayo, who had a monster game in Game 5 with 32 points and 14 rebounds. The All-Star center was aggressive and efficient, shooting 13-of-18 from the field and 6-of-7 from the free throw line. He also played stellar defense on Jokić, forcing him into six turnovers.
The Heat also got contributions from Kyle Lowry, who had 18 points and seven assists before leaving the game with an ankle injury in the third quarter; Tyler Herro, who had 16 points off the bench; and Kevin Love, who had a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
However, the Heat could not overcome their poor shooting from the 3-point line, where they made only 9-of-37 attempts (24.3%). They also struggled to contain the Nuggets’ offense, which shot 48.8% from the field and 40.7% from beyond the arc. The Heat trailed by as many as 13 points in the second half, and could not complete a comeback despite cutting the deficit to three points in the final minute.
Nuggets celebrate their historic achievement
The Nuggets were ecstatic after winning their first NBA title, as they celebrated with their fans, coaches and staff at the Ball Arena. The Nuggets, who joined the NBA in 1976, had never reached the Finals before this season, and had only made it to the Conference Finals four times. They also became the first team since the 1995 Houston Rockets to win the championship as a fifth seed or lower.
The Nuggets dedicated their victory to their loyal fan base, who had supported them through thick and thin. They also thanked their owner, Stan Kroenke, who had invested in the team and given them the resources to succeed. They also praised their coach, Michael Malone, who had guided them through adversity and instilled a winning culture in them.
The Nuggets also acknowledged their opponents, the Heat, who had given them a tough battle and showed great sportsmanship. They also congratulated Jokić for winning the Finals MVP award, and expressed their gratitude for his leadership and talent.
The Nuggets are now the champions of the NBA, and they have earned their place in history with their remarkable run. They have proven that anything is possible with hard work, teamwork and belief. They have also inspired millions of fans around the world with their joy and passion for the game.