The Denver Nuggets beat the Miami Heat 94-89 at home on Monday to win the 2022-23 National Basketball Association championship.
The Nuggets entered this game with a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series, but trailed Miami 51-44 at halftime.
Denver relied on solid defense and clutch plays from players like Michael Porter, Junior and Bruce Brown to help the Nuggets overcome the Heat’s relentless efforts to extend the season.
Nuggets center Nikola Jokic, a two-time regular-season MVP, was named Finals MVP. Jokic, who shares the nickname “Joker” with fellow tennis star Novak Djokovic of Serbia, had 28 points and 16 rebounds in the game.
Teammate Jamal Murray returned to the Nuggets this season with 14 points after suffering a serious knee injury in 2021.
It was the first championship in Denver’s 56-year history, which included 10 seasons before the merger of the American Basketball Association (ABA) and the National Basketball Association (NBA) following the 1975-76 season.
Jimmy Butler scored 21 points and teammate Bam Adebayo had 20 for Miami. The duo led the Heat to their second NBA Finals in three seasons. Miami lost to the Los Angeles Lakers at the end of the 2019-20 season, during which the league played without fans at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, due to the coronavirus pandemic. Miami has won three NBA championship titles. They debuted in the 1988-89 season.