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NBA Finals: Jokic, Murray and the Nuggets start (very) well against Miami

Rider alone.

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NBA Finals: Jokic, Murray and the Nuggets start (very) well against Miami

Rider alone. Presented as the big favorites for the 2023 NBA Finals, the Nuggets, long in demonstration, assumed their status Thursday, at the Ball Arena in Denver, against an overwhelmed Miami team despite a last quarter more hooked than the rest of the meeting ( 104-93). Fallouts from Minnesota, Phoenix and the Lakers in the West, Mike Malone's players lead 1-0 in what is the Colorado club's first appearance at this stage of the competition. Five players with 10 points and more in the ranks of Denver, including Nikola Jokic, of course in triple-double (27 pts, 10 rbs, 14 wt), it has become a habit, and Jamal Murray (26 pts, 10 wt ).

On the side of Miami, which only composted its ticket for the Finals on Saturday against Boston, Bam Adebayo made his match (26 pts, 13 rbs), Gabe Vincent also (19 pts). Jimmy Butler, a little less (13 pts, 6/14), not to mention Max Strus and Caleb Martin and their infamous 1/17 on cumulative shots. Note the impact of Kyle Lowry (11 pts) off the bench: he largely contributed to reviving the suspense at the end. But it would have taken so much more… 18 points from Haywood Highsmith.

10 days without playing, the Nuggets lacking rhythm? Oh no… After a start to the match marked by awkwardness on both sides, Aaron Gordon gave the lead and scored 8 of his team's first 14 points (14-9). Denver was doing a great job of finding the right match-ups and making his physique speak. Porter Jr got there from afar (27-18) while Miami was out of address. 9 after the first quarter and this last basket, work of Jokic (29-20). The first for the “Joker”, who until now was content to distribute the caviars with already 6 “assists”. The Nuggets were on, with Murray and Porter Jr on fire, as Miami picked up on offense and defense (39-27). Fortunately for the Floridians, Adebayo did the job (16 pts at MT), and we saw their quality reappear in the game here and there, like this school action concluded by Highsmith. Not enough to calm the ardor of Denver, who recited his basketball (52-37). Murray, he was going up the laps: 18 points at the break and 17 Nuggets (59-42 MT) after a basket from Jokic, already in double-double (10 pts, 10 wt). Simply impressive.

Address for Vincent, Adebayo still present ... despite his three faults and aggressive Butler: Miami regained its colors on the restart, at least offensively, but still did not find the key in defense (74-55). The slightest close to the Heat, always rough, was immediately sanctioned by a salvo from the Nuggets, with here this hot shot from Brown and his two three-point bombs in a row (74-60, then 84-60). A long distance address that was terribly lacking in Miami (8/27 at the end). Except that it was not missing that the players of Erik Spoelstra, overwhelmed and short of 21 points at the start of the last 12 minutes (84-63).

We know: it's never very smart to bet against this unsinkable Miami team. Never, never … And the Heat just started the fourth quarter with a 10-0, including two pluses from Lowry (84-74, then 92-82). What if… Little chill in the room. But Denver came back to basics and relied on its major tandem, Murray / Jokic, to weather the storm and soar to a logical victory (102-87, then 104-93 final score). The end of the game, however, is likely to give hope to Miami for Game 2, Sunday, still in Denver.

2023 NBA Finals schedule and results: Game 1: Denver-Miami 104-93 (Denver leads 1-0) Game 2: Denver-Miami, on the night of June 4-5 (2 a.m.) Game 3: Miami-Denver, in the night of June 7 to 8 (2h30)Match 4: Miami-Denver, the night of June 9 to 10 (2h30)

If necessaryMatch 5: Denver-Miami, on the night of June 12 to 13 (2h30)Match 6: Miami-Denver, on the night of June 15 to 16 (2h30)Match 7: Denver-Miami, on the night of June 18 to June 19 (2h)

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