The Denver Nuggets won the NBA championship, unseating the Golden State Warriors, following a spirited Game 5 victory over the Miami Heat at home on Monday night (94-89).
The Nuggets returned home with a commanding 3-1 lead after two expertly choreographed triumphs in Miami. Although the Heat lost the game in the final 20 seconds, they weren’t willing to let their Cinderella run as the eighth-seed in the Eastern Conference go without a fight.
The Golden State Warriors’ reign as NBA champions was ended by the Denver Nuggets in 2023, just four days short of a full year.The Nuggets, who were hoping to win the first NBA championship and end their 47-year championship drought, were clearly nervous.
However, a stingy Denver defense held the Heat to just 38 points in the second half after a sluggish start had them trailing by seven points at the break.As expected, Nikola Jokic, a two-time MVP who put on another 28-point, 16-rebound effort in Game 5, was awarded the Bill Russell NBA Finals MVP, replacing Stephen Curry, who won the award following his spectacular performance against the Boston Celtics a year ago.
After a disheartening second-round loss to the Los Angeles Lakers, Golden State’s run as champions was always going to end, but there was no clear favorite coming into the Conference Finals.
In the end, the Nuggets were rewarded for their steadfast excellence—not just during this season, but also as a consistent playoff club over the previous five seasons. Denver carried on as the greatest team in the Western Conference while the public and media were enamored with the sixth-seed Warriors and seventh-seed Lakers.
The Nuggets seized control of the first-seed in the Western Conference on December 20 and didn’t let go of it until co-stars Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. returned from injuries and Jokic continued to dominate as perhaps the finest player in the world.
There are no indications that Denver will change in the near future because they have a youthful, strong group surrounding their all-time great center. Now, as we anticipate the highly anticipated 2023–24 NBA season, it is up to the Warriors and the other 28 clubs to compete for supremacy.