The Rundown: Nuggets cruise past Heat in series-opener

Published June 2, 2023, 3:00 PMJon Carlos Rodriguez

The Denver Nuggets drew first blood in the NBA Finals with a 104-93 win over the Miami Heat in Game 1.


Nuggets 104, Heat 93

What went down

A familiar scary, probably traumatic sight for everyone who's been rooting against the Miami Heat: Caleb Martin swishing a 3 from the left wing with four minutes left in the third quarter.

Only this time, the Martin 3 didn’t feel dangerous at all. It was his first made basket of the game, after going 0-for-6 up to that point. Denver’s lead ballooned up to 17, and Martin’s 3-pointer cut it to 14. Barely made an impact.

The Nuggets scored five straight points after that, capped with Bruce Brown’s 3-pointer of his own. The Nuggets went up by 19, and that was really the whole story of the game.

At that point, Max Strus was 0-of-9, Jimmy Butler couldn't get into any sort of rhythm, and Nikola Jokic was doing anything he pleased.

Only Bam Adebayo (26 points), Gabe Vincent (19 points), and Haywood Highsmith (18 points) got theirs for the Heat, which against a well-oiled Nuggets squad, just won’t cut it.

Jokic had a perfect first half with 10 points and 10 assists. He finished with a 27-14-10 triple-double with what looked like ease, thanks to all the help he got from his teammates. Jamal Murray, in his Finals debut, dropped a very confident 26 points.

If the Nuggets keep this up and if the Heat continue to not find their stroke (which is unlikely), this will be a very short series. 

Big-time ballers

Not only did Jokic get a dominant win in his Finals debut, he also got a triple-double in the process. That’s just what he does.

Jokic is just the second player in league history—after Jason Kidd— to notch a triple-double in their Finals debut.

What he said 

Denver head coach Mike Malone is on that Ted Lasso vibe:

Did you see that?

The Larry O’Brien Trophy came down to Game 1 of the Finals in style: