Channeling a balanced attack, the Denver Nuggets ripped the Miami Heat, 104-93, to take the first blood, Game 1 win of the 2023 NBA Finals on Thursday night.
Five players managed to log 10+ points for the Nuggets, as Nikola Jokic led the pack with 27 points, 14 assists, and 10 boards. Per ESPN Stats & Info, he joined Jason Kidd in 2002 to boast a triple-double in their Finals debut.
Jamal Murray delivered a scoring punch with his 26 points while dishing out 10 assists, while front line partners Aaron Gordon and Michael Porter Jr. had 16 and 14, respectively.
Denver landed in their first official Finals game and didn’t disappoint to deliver a spectacular display in front of their sellout crowd in Ball Arena. Despite a poor 29.6 percent rate from downtown, they scored 51.3 percent from the field as a collective unit.
Bam Adebayo led the way for Miami on a losing effort, chipping in 26 points, 13 boards, and five assists, while Game Vincent assisted him with 19 points and five treys. Jimmy Butler went passive as he only had 13 points in 6-of-14 shooting.
After winning every Game 1 of their three previous series, the Heat was shell-shocked by the Nuggets’ overwhelming offense and that powerhouse home-court advantage that remains unblemished in this playoffs (9-0). They were hammered by as much as 24 points and weren’t able to get closer amid their rally attempts in the final frame.
Having a 21.0 free throw average in 18 postseason games this year, the Heat didn’t absorb much contact and only shot a total of two foul shots throughout the game, the fewest in a playoff game in NBA history (h/t ESPN Stats & Info).
Game 2 of the 2023 NBA Finals resumes on Sunday.