NBA Finals: Denver wins at Miami and takes off

They can begin to glimpse their first coronation

NBA Finals: Denver wins at Miami and takes off

They can begin to glimpse their first coronation. Intractable and simply superior, the Nuggets of the essential Nikola Jokic, supported by his evening lieutenants Aaron Gordon and Bruce Brown, won at the Heat (108-95), Friday, June 9, in the NBA final, to s very close to a first championship title.

Here is Denver one victory away from the Grail. For the peaceful town at the foot of the Rockies, where 19th-century gold diggers flocked, the wait could end as early as Monday in the already decisive fifth game after 47 seasons in the league. Miami, for its part, finds itself with its back against the wall, forced to achieve a feat that has only happened once in history, by Cleveland and LeBron James against Golden State in 2016: winning the last three games of the series after being down 3-1.

It will certainly take the Floridians more than their courage, their gnaque and Jimmy Butler, exemplary leader on this meeting with 25 points to his credit, to overturn this mountain in Colorado, as the ascent seems so impossible. Because if Jokic was still ultra-dominant inside, with 24 points and 12 rebounds (4 assists, 3 interceptions, 2 blocks), it only lasted three quarters, because at the start of the last, he was upset with a fifth foul which sent him to rest.

Very efficient Aaron Gordon

Under the eyes of footballers Paul Pogba and Neymar, actor Forest Whitaker, rapper Lil Wayne or even former mixed martial arts star Conor McGregor, who was getting boos for wanting to sell a product in his name on the microphone , he also had to have his right ankle treated, which twisted slightly at the end of the first quarter.

The double MVP will nevertheless have had the satisfaction of seeing Bruce Brown catch fire, since he scored 11 of his 21 points, with a formidable address (8/11). Thanks to him, the Nuggets responded to the final onslaught of the Heat, which had been trailed by 17 units in the previous quarter.

The precious replacement, recruited in the summer of 2022 from Brooklyn, thus took over in attack for Denver, which saw Aaron Gordon, overmotivated and very effective, walk on water with 27 points in his bag at 11/ 15 on shots, including 3/4 from behind the arc. Quite simply the best performance of his career in the playoff.

"It was a team effort"

Thus the Nuggets demonstrate the extent of their collective talent and the variety of their offensive armada, while Jamal Murray was contained to 15 points (5/17), still managing to contribute through his altruism ( 12 pass).

“Today was a team effort. I can't even name a person. Everyone got involved,” the full-back commented after the game. Denver's new show of force also translated into 50% three-point success (14/28) and a deterrent in defense, up to the challenge.

As always, the Floridians, like Bam Adebayo (20 points, 11 rebounds) were not unworthy and fought with all their might to try to deceive in a meeting where they most often ran behind the score. But these Nuggets are too strong so far. And to avoid getting drunk too soon, Murray called on his people to "stay calm and focused".