By JACOB ONJEWU DICKSON
The Denver Nuggets beat the Miami Heat 94-89 in Game 5 of the 2023 NBA Finals to win their first-ever NBA championship.
In front of a sold-out crowd at the Ball Arena, two-time NBA Most Valuable Player (MVP) Nikola Jokic was awarded with his first Bill Russell NBA Finals MVP award. Jokic became the first recipient of the trophy, also becoming the first player in NBA history to put up 600 points, 190 assists and 269 rebounds in a single postseason, leading the playoffs in all three categories. The Serbian averaged 30.2 points, 14.0 rebounds, 7.2 assists and 1.4 blocks over the five games of the Finals series.
“It’s good. It’s good. We did a job. I think we played the best basketball, I’m not going to say in the postseason, but I think we were there playing the best basketball. Today we didn’t make shots, but still, we defend,” Jokic said. He put up 28 points, 16 rebounds and four assists last night.
The Nuggets finished the regular season as the number one seed in the Western Conference, defeating the Minnesota Timberwolves, Phoenix Suns and Los Angeles Lakers to win the Western Conference Finals, before beating the Heat in five games and lifting the Larry O’Brien Trophy this morning.
“You know, Pat Riley said something many years ago. I used to have it up on my board when I was a head coach in Sacramento, and it talked about the evolution in this game and how you go from a nobody to an upstart, and you go from an upstart to a winner and a winner to a contender and a contender to a champion, and the last step is after a champion is to be a dynasty. So, we’re not satisfied,” said Nuggets head coach Michael Malone after the game. “We accomplished something this franchise has never done before, but we have a lot of young talented players in that locker room, and I think we just showed through 16 playoff wins what we’re capable of on the biggest stage in the world.”
The Nuggets have finished their postseason with a 16-4 record and the celebrations will continue when the championship parade gets underway in downtown Denver on Thursday.