Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets are about to pop that bottle of champagne in the locker room!
After a quick NBA Finals series, the Nuggets towered over Jimmy Butler and the Miami Heat, beating them in Game 5, 94-89. We all know who led them to victory: Jokic.
The Joker put up an extraordinary, mind-blowing performance throughout the postseason. He became an absolute triple-double machine, recording ten in their entire run!
The two-time KIA MVP ended their championship campaign with an average of 30.2 points, 14 rebounds, 7.2 assists, and 1.4 steals.
In Game 5, Jokic stole the show by putting up 28 points, 16 boards, four dimes, and one block. Butler and his squad did not stand a chance even if they fought valiantly and took Game 2 to prevent a sweep.
In the last game, fans saw a possible Game 6 as Denver had a sluggish start. Bam Adebayo had an excellent first half, posting 18 points and nine rebounds. They had to make a historic come-from-behind to mark the beginning of the dynasty they were about to make.
Leads kept changing by the fourth quarter as two minutes remained on the clock. But Jokic and Bruce Brown helped the Nuggets regain the lead.
When Butler, who had 21 points, committed a crucial bad pass that forced the Heat to commit a foul, it sealed the deal. Eighteen seconds remained in the clock, and Jimmy had to force a hail mary which he missed.
And with that—after 47 years in the NBA—the Nuggets finally took home their very first franchise title.
Nikola Jokic Grabs Finals MVP… and Makes History
Nikola Jokic may not have the KIA MVP award, but he has the Michael Jordan trophy, which makes it better than Joel Embiid’s.
Jokic was the clear NBA Finals Most Valuable Player as he went to destroy the teams that opposed his Nuggets, even sweeping the much-experienced LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers.
The Joker was an absolute beast this postseason. He shot at an incredibly efficient rate of 58.3 percent from the field, 42.1 percent from deep, and 83.8 percent from the charity. Thanks to his leadership, his team only lost four postseason games in this dominant run.
What’s even more impressive is that he shattered Wilt Chamberlain’s triple-double record in a single playoff run, posting ten triple-doubles!
Two of those were during the matchup against the Heat, opening Game 1 with a 27-14-10 points-assists-rebounds tally. He followed it up in Game 3 with an even bigger stat sheet: 32 points, 21 rebounds, and ten assists to become the first player to make such a feat.
Though he could not become the triple-double machine in Games 2, 4, and 5, he could contribute in scoring, posting 41, 53, and 28.
And at age 28, the Joker still has a lot of fuel in the tank. There is still a possibility that he can give the Nuggets two or three rings before he retires.
A Good Fight by the Heat
Although the Heat could not make a comeback, it is important to remember that they had nine undrafted players going up against the Nuggets, not to mention they were the eighth seed coming from the play-in tournament!
Thirteen other teams had a higher chance of advancing to the Finals. However, Miami surprised everyone by rising to the very top.
The heavily-favored Milwaukee Bucks, led by Giannis Antetokounmpo, bowed down to this eight-seeded team. Boston Celtics, the number two in the East, had to force Game 7 just to be defeated.
And out of all the teams that faced the Nuggets, the Heat managed to stain Denver’s home game win streak.
If the Heat lands a star next season, they will be more formidable and scarier than ever. But for now, they just have to accept defeat.