Nuggets vs. Heat: Nikola Jokic makes NBA Finals history, continues to rewrite definition of bucket-getter


With nine minutes to play in Game 1 of the NBA Finals, the Miami Heat, who’d been playing catchup since the opening tip and trailed by 21 points at the start of the fourth, had managed to trim Denver’s lead to 10 with an 11-0 run over a quick three-minute burst. 

It was the first time in the second half that Miami felt like it might be able to grind its way back into the fight. Another stop and bucket to cut the lead to single digits would’ve been honest cause for Denver concern. It was, however, never going to get that far. 

See, the Nuggets have this guy named Nikola Jokic. Perhaps you’ve heard of him. Michael Malone doesn’t believe enough people talk enough about the two-time MVP, and he’s probably right.

Domantas Sabonis on right thumb: Surgery not yet ruled out

By | June 2, 2023

Sean Cunningham: Went to the Sacramento Zoo today with Kings All-Star Domantas Sabonis. He attended an important event that I’ll share more from later. He got a scan today on his right thumb to see how treatment has helped heal the avulsion fracture. Surgery not yet ruled out, but hopeful.
Source: Twitter @SeanCunningham What’s the buzz on Twitter? Sean Cunningham @SeanCunningham
Went to the Sacramento Zoo today with Kings All-Star Domantas Sabonis. He attended an important event that I’ll share more from later.
He got a scan today on his right thumb to see how treatment has helped heal the avulsion fracture. Surgery not yet ruled out, but hopeful. PM Doug

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Lewis won't referee NBA Finals amid investigation

Associated Press

Jun 1, 2023, 08:52 AM ET

DENVER — Eric Lewis was not selected as one of the 12 referees who will work the NBA Finals between the Denver Nuggets and Miami Heat while the league continues to look into whether he used a Twitter account to defend himself and other officials from online critiques.

Lewis had been chosen to work the Finals in each of the past four seasons. This year’s Finals referees were announced by the league Thursday morning, about 12 hours before the start of the title series.

After some now-deleted tweets were revealed by a pair of Twitter users last week, the league opened an investigation into whether Lewis violated NBA rules by speaking about officiating in an unauthorized manner. It has not been determined whether Lewis was using the account, which uses the name “blair cuttliff.” The account was deactivated briefly last week but was active again Wednesday

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has sore right tailbone but expects to play Game 2

By | June 1, 2023

What’s the buzz on Twitter? Harrison Wind @HarrisonWind
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope was back on the Nuggets’ bench during that timeout. Looks like he’s riding a bike near Denver’s sideline to stay loose. – 10:07 PM Gordon Gross @GMoneyNuggs
KCP is mad after he felt he should have had an offensive screen foul called on Miami but instead got called on his recovery. Sprinting down the court, he missed the layup but then Mal got him the 3 point feed to bury it. – 10:01 PM

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Jokic's triple-double powers Nuggets to G1 win

Associated Press

Jun 1, 2023, 10:58 PM ET

DENVER — Nikola Jokic got a triple-double in his NBA Finals debut, Jamal Murray scored 26 points and the Denver Nuggets had little trouble with the cold-shooting Miami Heat on the way to a 104-93 win in Game 1 on Thursday night.

Jokic finished with 27 points, 14 assists and 10 rebounds for the Nuggets, who waited 47 years to make the finals and didn’t disappoint. Aaron Gordon added 16 points and Michael Porter Jr. scored 14 for Denver, which trailed for all of 34 seconds and eventually led by as many as 24.

Bam Adebayo finished with 26 points and 13 rebounds for Miami, which shot 41% for the game — 33% from 3-point range. Gabe Vincent scored 19, Haywood Highsmith had 18 and Jimmy Butler added 13 for the Heat.

Game 2 is in Denver on Sunday night.

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Miami opened the fourth quarter on

Nuggets pounce on weary Heat to win NBA Finals Game 1, 104-93

Yaron Weitzman

FOX Sports NBA Writer

Throughout these playoffs, there have been two things that the Denver Nuggets have done better than any other team. Score, and win on their home court. Both those trends continued Thursday in Game 1 of the NBA Finals – the franchise’s first-ever game in the championship round – as the Nuggets thumped the Miami Heat, 104-93.

Per usual, Nikola Jokic led the way for Denver with 27 points, 14 assists and 10 rebounds, his ninth triple-double of the playoffs. Jamal Murray added in 26 points, 10 assists and six rebounds. With the win, the Nuggets improved to 9-0 at home this postseason.

The Heat were led by Bam Adedayo, who racked up 26 points and 12 rebounds. This is the Heat’s first Game 1 loss of the playoffs.

Stats to know

Jokic field-goal attempts: 12

This is what makes Jokic the best offensive player in the NBA. There’s just no answer for him. You can limit his shot attempts and still get torched, whether it means hitting Aaron Gordon on a cut or springing Murray open with a devastating screen.

Heat 3-point shooting: 13 for 39


One of the reasons the Heat have been able to turn things around in the playoffs is because they’ve caught fire from deep. They’ve drilled 39% of their triples during the playoffs, a giant jump from the 34.4% they shot from deep during the regular season. But in Game 1, they went cold. The chief culprits: Max Strus (0-9) and Duncan Robinson (1-5).

Heat free-throw attempts: 2

This is a record for fewest in an NBA Finals game.

Play of the Game

It’s more than one play, but how can you not just sit back and appreciate this level of greatness? We’ve never seen a player like this. Right now, it looks like there’s no answer.

Up next for the Nuggets 

What makes this team so great is that they’re not the ones that have to make adjustments. Because of Jokic’s dominance, and the many ways he’s able to dominate, all the Nuggets have to do is sit back and take what the defense’s give them. 

The Heat did go to a zone defense in the fourth quarter, and it did seem to slow the Nuggets down a bit, but the game was already over by then. Maybe the Heat lean on it more in Game 2. 

But it’s worth pointing out that during the regular season the Nuggets were No. 2 in the league in points per possession when facing a zone.

Up next for the Heat 

The one thing the Heat can take solace in is that many of their missed 3s came off good looks. Maybe a few extra days in Denver and getting used to the altitude helps some of their snipers and some of those shots fall in Game 2. 

They’ll also have to figure out a way to get to the free-throw line. Because it doesn’t matter how effective their zone defense is. If they don’t generate more points they have no shot.

Yaron Weitzman is an NBA writer for FOX Sports. He is the author of “Tanking to the Top: The Philadelphia 76ers and the Most Audacious Process in the History of Professional Sports.” Follow him on Twitter @YaronWeitzman.

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NBA Twitter reacts to Nuggets beating Heat in Game 1: 'What happened to Himmy Butler?'

By | June 1, 2023

The Denver Nuggets have beaten the Miami Heat 104-93 in Game 1 of the 2023 NBA Finals.

Nikola Jokic led the way for Denver with yet another triple-double of 27 points. 10 rebounds and 14 assists.

Here’s how NBA Twitter reacted to the first game of the Finals.

The way jokic finds his teammates so easily is crazy haha

— Aamir Simms (@EarlShmitty_) June 2, 2023

AG really a monster , right fit can bring you back to life

— RJ (@RjHampton14) June 2, 2023

Butler finished with

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Nikola Jokic records triple-double in Finals debut, Nuggets take Game 1

By | June 1, 2023

What’s the buzz on Twitter? Gary Washburn @GwashburnGlobe
#Nuggets withstand #Heat run, win Game 1 104-93. Jokic 27 10 reb, 14 ast, Murray 26, Gordon 16, Porter 14, Brown 10; Adebayo 26, Vincent 19, Highsmith 18, Butler 13, Lowry 11, Robinson 3, Martin 3, Strus 0. – 10:44 PM Barry Jackson @flasportsbuzz
Bam 26, Vincent 19, Highsmith 18. But Butler a quiet 13 point night and Strus 0 for 10, as Heat drops Finals opener. Another triple double for Jokic. – 10:44 PM

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Silver: Morant ruling coming after NBA Finals

Associated Press

Jun 1, 2023, 08:49 PM ET

DENVER — The latest sanctions, if any, that the NBA plans to levy against Memphis guard Ja Morant for his second instance of displaying a gun on social media will be announced shortly after the finals, Commissioner Adam Silver said Thursday.

Silver did not say what the penalties were, not even saying if Morant would be available at the start of next season. Morant was suspended for eight games by the NBA in March for an incident where he broadcast himself on Instagram displaying a gun in a suburban Denver club, and was suspended by the Grizzlies last month after another video showed Morant displaying what appeared to be a gun yet again.

Silver said the league has discovered more information during its current investigation, but the decision was made to not have the next round of Morant news overshadow the NBA Finals.

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Celtics to keep Mazzulla, 'want Jaylen to be here'

ESPN News Services

Jun 1, 2023, 01:12 PM ET

Joe Mazzulla remains head coach of the Boston Celtics and will return next season, team president Brad Stevens said Thursday.

“He’s a terrific leader,” Stevens said. “He’ll only get better at anything that he can learn from this year, because he’s constantly trying to learn. And he’s accountable.”

Mazzulla, 34, led the Celtics to a 57-25 record and the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference in his first season on the bench. Boston’s season ended Monday with a Game 7 loss to the Miami Heat in the East finals.

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Mazzulla took over when coach Ime Udoka was suspended for the season in September for multiple violations of team rules. He reportedly had an intimate relationship with an unidentified female staff member.

Three Celtics assistant coaches — Ben Sullivan, Aaron Miles and Mike Mose — are reportedly leaving to rejoin Udoka, who was named head