After 47-year wait, Finals win…’Jokic triple-double’ puts Denver up first
The end of a 47-year wait was sweet.
The Denver Nuggets, who are in the Finals for the first time since joining the National Basketball Association (NBA) in 1976, have won Game 1 behind a huge performance from ace Nikola Jokic. Jokic joined the ranks of legends by recording a triple-double in his Finals debut.
Denver defeated the Miami Heat 104-93 in Game 1 of the 2022-23 NBA Finals (best-of-seven) at Mile High City Arena in Denver, Colorado, USA, on 2 February. Jokic, a centre who thrives on making plays that keep his teammates alive, finished with 27 points, 10 rebounds and 14 assists for his ninth triple-double in this year’s playoffs.안전놀이터
Only two players have ever recorded a triple-double in their Finals debut – Jokic and Jason Kidd in 2002. Jokic is also only the second player since Michael Jordan in 1991 to record a career-high in points and assists in his debut. His 14 assists are also a Finals record for a centre. Only LeBron James (2017) and Jokic had more than 10 assists in the first half alone.
With more than 10 days of rest following their four-game sweep of the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference Finals, the Nuggets were concerned about their lack of practice, but they cruised to victory, never losing the lead after an early 6-7 first quarter. They led by as much as 59-42 at halftime and briefly trailed in the third quarter, but back-to-back baskets by Jeff Green and Jokic put them back in front.
The Serbian-born Jokic has been with Denver since 2015 and has established himself as one of the league’s best players. He won the regular season Most Valuable Player (MVP) award in 2021 and 2022. This season, he averaged 24.5 points, 11.8 rebounds, and 9.8 assists in the regular season. In the playoffs, he’s even better, averaging 29.9 points, 13.3 rebounds, and 10.3 assists. For a big man, he has a precise outside shot and is an excellent passer, averaging over 10 assists per game.
After the Game 1 win, Jokic emphasised the importance of team play, saying, “Winning the game any way you can is the most important thing,” adding, “I know I don’t have to make shots, I know I don’t have to score to have an impact on the game.”
Miami, which pushed the Eastern Conference Finals to a best-of-seven series with the Boston Celtics and is seeking its first-ever “eight-seed” championship, was hampered by stamina issues. Miami’s signature player Jimmy Butler managed just 13 points, seven rebounds and seven assists.
Game 2 between the two teams will be held at the same venue at 9am on the 5th.