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MANILA, Philippines – In only their first appearance on the league’s biggest stage, the Denver Nuggets did not falter under the bright lights as they cruised to a 104-93 win over the Miami Heat in Game 1 of their best-of-seven 2023 NBA Finals series.
Led by two-time league MVP Nikola Jokic, the Nuggets remained undefeated at home this postseason and they will look to keep it that way when they clash with the Heat in Game 2 on Sunday, June 4 (Monday, June 5, Manila time), at the Ball Arena in Denver, Colorado.
Playing in his first ever NBA Finals game, Jokic looked nothing less than his usual self as he recorded his ninth triple-double in this year’s playoffs with a massive stat line of 27 points, 10 rebounds, and 14 assists. He joined NBA legend Jason Kidd as the only players in league history to notch a triple-double in an NBA Finals debut.
As expected, spitfire guard Jamal Murray also came to play for Denver in Game 1, backstopping Jokic with 26 points, 6 rebounds, and 10 assists.
Count on those two stars to show no signs of slowing down as the Nuggets shoot for a 2-0 start against a Heat team raring to rebound from that disappointing Game 1 defeat.
The Nuggets’ stifling defense held Heat superstar Jimmy Butler to just 13 points on 6-of-14 shooting in the series opener – his lowest scoring output this postseason.
It was All-Star big man Bam Adebayo who did all the work for Miami with 26 points, 13 rebounds, and 5 assists. Role players such as Caleb Martin, who made a name for himself in their Eastern Conference finals series against the Boston Celtics, Max Strus, and Duncan Robinson were all non-factors in Game 1.
Look for Butler to bounce back big and Adebayo to once again hold his own down low against Jokic as the Heat go for the equalizer.
According to reports, Miami’s sharpshooting guard Tyler Herro might also make his return in Game 2 after suffering a broken right hand that has kept him out since the first round.
Game time is 8 am.
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