Tuesday 13 June 2023

Denver Nuggets beat Miami Heat in NBA finals Game 5 for team’s first championship

The Denver Nuggets beat the Miami Heat 94-89 on Monday night to win a first NBA championship in their 47 years in the league.

Led by two-time NBA MVP Nikola Jokić, the Nuggets overcame a 10-point deficit in the second quarter to close out the series 4-1. The Heat threatened to make a comeback of their own in the final minutes before a costly turnover by Miami star Jimmy Butler gave Denver crucial free throws.

“The job is done, we can go home now,” said Jokić, who finished the game with 28 points and 16 rebounds, in an on-court interview after clinching the title. He was also named the finals MVP.

It was far from a vintage performance from the Nuggets. They missed 20 of their first 22 three-point attempts and seven of their first 13 free throws before outscoring the Heat by 12 points in the second half. The Heat’s radar was off too: they shot 34% from the floor and 25% from three.

Butler scored eight straight points to help the Heat take an 87-86 lead with 2:45 left after trailing by seven. He made two more free throws with 1:58 remaining to help Miami regain a one-point lead. Then, Bruce Brown got an offensive rebound and tip-in to give the Nuggets the lead for good.

Trailing by three with 15 seconds left, Butler jacked up a three-point attempt, but missed it. Brown made two free throws to put the game out of reach and bring the title to Denver for the first time.

“It was and ugly and we couldn’t make shots, but at the end we figured it out,” Jokić said. “I am just happy we won the game.”

Denver had looked like champions for much of the season, and qualified for the playoffs as the No 1 seed in the Western Conference. That was in contrast to the upstart Heat, who overcame the odds to qualify for the NBA finals as a No 8 seed.


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