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NBA Finals: The Denver Nuggets Sealed the Deal – They WIN Their FIRST-ever NBA Championship! | WATCH

Denver Nuggets & Miami Heat (Wilfredo Lee-USA TODAY Sports-Reuters)
Jimmy Butler will need to star for the Miami Heat to extend the series. Denver Nuggets & Miami Heat (Wilfredo Lee-USA TODAY Sports-Reuters)

*Earlier, our headline basically asked if the Denver Nuggets could seal the deal Monday night and win its first-ever NBA championship. Well, now we know the answer to that headline question is a resounding YES! The Nuggets WON the 2023 NBA Finals in game 5 with a 94-89 victory over the Miami Heat at Ball Arena in Denver.

Two-time MVP Nikola Jokić led the way for the Nuggets with a game-high 28 points and 16 rebounds.

“It was an amazing effort by the team,” he told ABC after the game. “It was an ugly game. We couldn’t make shots but at the end, we figured out how to defend.”

The Serbian big man was voted Most Valuable Player of the NBA Finals and is the first center to win the award named after the late Bill Russell since Shaquille O’Neal of the Lakers in 2002.

Nuggets coach Michael Malone said, ”Nikola Jokić is a great person. He’s a great husband, father and son, and brother. And on the basketball court, he has proven time and time again that he’s the best player in the NBA. He’s our MVP, we love him and we’re thankful that he’s wearing a Nuggets’ uniform.”

Nikola Jokić (Nathaniel S Butler-NBAE-Getty Images)
Nikola Jokić (Nathaniel S Butler-NBAE-Getty Images)

The 28-year-old Jokić posted 10 total triple-doubles to pass Wilt Chamberlain (seven) for most all-time in a single playoff run. He also finished the postseason as the first player in NBA history to lead all players in points, rebounds, and assists in a single postseason, according to ESPN Stats & Info.

Denver’s Michael Porter Jr. had 16 points and 13 boards and Jamal Murray chipped in 14 points.

“All the hard work, all the sacrifice, all the dedication, all culminated with us winning a championship,” Malone told ABC. “But I got news for everybody out there: We’re not satisfied with one. We want more. We want more.”

Jimmy Butler had 21 points and Bam Adebayo had 20 to lead Miami, which as an eight-seed had surprised the NBA by advancing to the Finals.

Denver struggled from the free throw and 3-point lines but led by as many as seven points in the fourth quarter. But the Heat went on a 13-5 run and led by one point, 89-88, with 1:58 left in the contest.

Denver scored the game’s final six points with Bruce Brown knocking in a putback layup with 91 seconds left, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Brown hitting free throws as the final minute played out. Miami couldn’t connect as Heat players tried several 3-pointers.

“There’s no regrets on our end. There’s just sometimes where you get beat, you know, and Denver was the better basketball team in this series,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “I would say that it will probably rank as our hardest, competitive, most active defensive game of the season, and it still fell short.”

Here’s what we reported earlier:

(CNN) — The Denver Nuggets are on the verge of making history and winning their first-ever NBA Championship but with the defiant Miami Heat standing in their way, anything is possible.

Game 5 gets underway Monday at Ball Arena, Denver, and the Nuggets will be looking to seal the series in front of a home crowd.

With the two-man game of Nikola Jokić and Jamal Murray on fire throughout the postseason, it will be a tough ask of the Heat to stop the Nuggets from claiming that elusive NBA title, but stranger things have happened.

How to watch

The game starts at 8:30 p.m. ET and will be shown live on ABC. Game 5 will also be streamed live on fubo.

‘We are ready’

With the Nuggets just one win away from a first NBA Championship, it would be easy to start the celebrations too early, but this Denver team aren’t getting ahead of themselves just yet.

“I think it’s not going to be emotional. It’s going to be a job that we need to do to be done,” Jokić explained. “I think we are ready. I think we are going to be locked in and ready to go. It’s just going to be a game that we need to win.”

The coolness of their leader on the court appears to trickle its way throughout the rest of the roster and Denver has played with an element of calm all the way through the NBA postseason.

As seen when sweeping the Los Angeles Lakers to seal the Western Conference Finals, the Nuggets seem to have mastered not letting the highs get too high or the lows get too low.

Nuggets head coach Michael Malone reiterated this sentiment on the eve of Game 5 and has urged his players not to think too much about the consequences of each specific in-game play.

“Stay in the moment and once that jump ball goes up tomorrow night, our players, every possession, every moment of that game can’t be, ‘We have to win this game.’ We have to stay true to ourselves, trust what’s gotten us to this point.”

Denver Nuggets Head Coach Mike Malone (Matthew Stockman-Getty Images)
Denver Nuggets Head Coach Mike Malone (Matthew Stockman-Getty Images)

But the Denver head coach also knows the importance of Game 5.

“Tomorrow’s game, we’re down 3-1,” Malone added. “This is a must-win for us, and hopefully, if that’s the mentality our guys can go out there and play with, we’ll put ourselves in a great position.”

The Nuggets have dominated the series so far with Murray starring each night and Jokić putting on record-breaking performance after record-breaking performance.

‘The Joker’s’ all-round dominance has him leading the way in points, assists, and rebounds throughout the NBA postseason – an incredible feat for the two-time MVP.

However, the supporting cast has also been crucial to Denver with Aaron Gordon, Bruce Brown Jr., and rookie Christian Braun all able to step up when needed.

‘Ain’t nobody got to four yet’

If there’s one team in the NBA that won’t be deterred by a 3-1 deficit, it is the Miami Heat.

The Heat have had to battle their way through the NBA Play-In tournament and then the playoffs as a No. 8 seed, and now have deservedly found themselves in an unexpected NBA Finals matchup.

Jimmy Butler’s iconic playoff performances, the Miami role players stepping up, and Heat culture’s toughness have all made this a run to remember, but it’s not over just yet for the Heat.

“Ain’t nobody got to four yet. So keep playing. Stay in the fight,” outlined Butler. “Knowing that if we get this one, we’re on our way to do something special. So we’ve got to win three before they win one.”

This never-say-die attitude has stood the Heat in good stead throughout the postseason and head coach Erik Spoelstra urged his team of “savage competitors,” to remember this.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=naJ9Zx38tMQ

“Everybody is counting us out. We’re used to that. But ultimately it has to be decided between those four lines. The crowd is not going to decide it. The narratives are not going to decide it.”

A defiant Spoelstra added: “Whatever the analytics are about 3-1, that ain’t going to decide it. It’s going to be decided between those four lines, whose game can get to whose game and ultimately win at the end. That’s what our guys love.”

The Heat will need to step up their performances to take the series to Game 6 and good displays from their role players will be key if they are to extend the NBA Finals.

MORE NEWS ON EURWEB: Watch Angel Reese in New STARRY Campaign for NBA Finals | Video

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