For the first time, the Denver Nuggets will go to the NBA Finals after sweeping the Los Angeles Lakers in a tight Game 4, 111-113.
Established in 1967, the Nuggets only reached the playoffs 29 times. Five of those have them going to the Western Conference Finals. But it all changed today, May 23, when they finally defeated the Lakers to advance to the NBA Finals.
Nikola Jokic, who many argued to be this season’s MVP, posted 30 points, 14 rebounds, 13 assists, three blocks, and one steal to fuel the Nuggets past the Lakers. Not only that, but he also broke Wilt Chamberlain’s triple-double record after he notched his eighth triple-double in the playoffs.
In a post-interview with ESPN, the Joker said that the secret to their win was that “they never give up.”
“We don’t give up,” Jokic said. “I’ve been saying this for five years — when we were bad or when we were good — we don’t give up. And that’s what happened today.
“They jumped on us the first half. They were better, more aggressive, scoring easily, and didn’t miss, basically. But in the second half, we turned the page, and everybody stepped up. It was a collective effort. It’s not just one guy.”
With the Lakers eliminated, the Nuggets await the result between the Boston Celtics and the Miami Heat matchup. The Celtics are also possibly going to be swept by the Heat as they were also down 3-0.
Not Damaged Goods
Jamal Murray, who described himself as “damaged goods,” was also a massive part of the win after getting some encouraging words from Nuggets coach Mike Malone during Game 3.
Apparently, Murray received word that they were about to trade him because of his injuries. But Malone assured him they would never do that and told him, “You’re ours.”
After posting 30 points in Game 3, Murray went on to add 25 more in Game 4 to help Jokic beat the Lakers by a thread. Aaron Gordon, Michael Porter Jr., and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope were also in double figures.
LeBron Commends Nuggets
Lakers superstar LeBron James showed incredible respect to the team that swept them, especially after defeating the Memphis Grizzlies and the ‘21-’22 NBA champions the Golden State Warriors. The 38-year-old 19x NBA All-Star admitted the Nuggets were the best team he has ever faced as a Laker.
“They have scoring. They have shooting. They have play-making. They have smarts. They have length. They have depth,” James said in the press conference.
“And one thing about their team, when you have a guy like Jokic, who as big as he is but also as cerebral as he is, you can’t really make many mistakes versus a guy like that.”
In Game 1, Denver Nuggets bested the Lakers, 132-126, with Jokic going for a triple-double performance with 34 points, 21 rebounds, and 14 assists. Fans saw a similar result in Game 2, as the Joker yet again went for 23-17-12—another triple-double.
The only game Jokic failed to record double digits in scoring, rebounding, and assists was in Game 3 where he only had 24 points, six rebounds, and eight assists.
Is This James’ Final Year?
Following the sweep by the Denver Nuggets, LeBron told the press that he had a lot to think about with his career, and many reporters figure out that he may not play for his 21st season.
As per Bleach Report, the Lakers star considers hanging up his jersey this season.
“I got a lot to think about… Just personally, with me moving forward with the game of basketball, I got a lot to think about,” he said.
If this will be LeBron’s final year, he will be going out as a four-time NBA champion, four-time Finals MVP, 1st all-time in scoring, and 1st all-time playoff scoring leader.