Denver Nuggetswhich will seek the first title in its 47-year history in NBAAND Miami Heatwho will try to become the first champion to start the playoffs as the eighth seed, will start play this Thursday on final series of the most important basketball championship on the planet. The opening match of this crossing will be played from 21.30 (Argentina time) at the Ball Arena in Denver and will be broadcast on ESPN 2 and the Star+ platform.
The Nuggets were, for the first time since their league debut in 1976, the first seed in the Western Conference after posting a record 53 wins AND 29 losses in regular phase. En route to their first Finals, they only lost three games in their playoff rounds against Minnesota Timberwolves (4-1), phoenix suns (4-2) and los angeles lakers (4-0).
Much of the success in these qualifying rounds was justified by the tremendous performance of Nikola Jokic. The NBA Most Valuable Player in 2021 and 2022 is averaging 29.9 points, 13.3 rebounds and 10.3 assists in these playoffs, and averages 53.8% field goal effectiveness and 47 .4% in triples.
The 28-year-old Serbian pivot has built a highly profitable partnership with Jamal Murray, who returned to the field at a high level after missing the entire 2021/22 season due to a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. They were joined by men who were less famous but made solid contributions to the cause such as Aaron Gordon, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Michael Porter Jr. and Bruce Brown Jr.
The team from the Colorado state capital enters this final with the added advantage of having had nine days off after sweeping their series against the Lakers. But neither that nor his favorite status tarnishes Michael Mallonemanager of the Nuggets since 2015.
“To those who think this is going to be an easy series, I don’t even know what to say anymore. It will be the biggest challenge of our lives”, remarked the coach, who warned that having reached this stage is only the penultimate step of the mission that he and his men have set for themselves: “Our goal is to win a championship, so we still have a lot of work to do . Reaching the final is not enough.”
With far less downtime and far less trust from punters, the Miami team landed in Denver just hours after getting tickets to the seventh finalin which he will seek his fourth championship (he won the ring in 2006, 2012 and 2013).
Going from the point doesn’t appear to be a problem for the Heat, who after building a modest 44-38 record in the regular season had to go through two play-ins (losing to the Atlanta Hawks and beating the Chicago Bulls) to secure his place in the playoffs. Since then he has eliminated the best team in the league Milwaukee Bucks (4-1), the New York Knicks (4-2) and the Boston Celtics (4-3).
The series that defined the title of the Conference This has been a roller coaster, as Miami led 3-0, but Boston rallied back to tie 3-3 and had a chance to define the key at home. However, the Florida team won 104-83 in Game 7, played Monday at the TD Garden, becoming the second eighth-seeded team to reach a Finals, after the New York Knicks did so in 1999 (fell to the San Antonio Spurs).
The leader of this surprising Heat is guard Jimmy Butler, who leads a group of players who, far from the status and rosters of NBA superstars, are performing at the highest level. Some were not even drafted, such as Caleb Martin (26 points in Game 7 against the Celtics), Gabe Vincent, Max Strus or Duncan Robinson, who have lived moments of glory in this postseason and who will now try to give the last hit.
“No one is satisfied. We didn’t do anything. We don’t just play to win the Eastern Conference. We play to win everything,” said Butler, 33, who played for the Chicago Bulls, Minnesota Timberwolves and Philadelphia 76ers before coming to Miami in 2019.
If Butler is the undisputed leader on the court, the brains off the bench is Erik Spoelstra, who has led the team since 2008, reached six other NBA Finals and emerged victorious in two (in 2012 and 2013). If Miami defeats Denver, he will become the league’s seventh three-time head coach, following Phil Jackson, Red Auerbach, Pat Riley (current president of the Heat), John Kundla, Gregg Popovich and Steve Kerr.
The NBA Finals series
- game 1: Thursday, June 1 at 9:30 pm in Denver.
- Game 2: Sunday, June 4 at 9:00 pm in Denver.
- Game 3: Wednesday, June 7 at 9:30pm in Miami.
- Game 4: Friday, June 9 at 9:30pm in Miami.
- Game 5: Monday, June 12 at 9:30 pm in Denver. *
- Game 6: Thursday June 15th at 9:30pm in Miami. *
- Game 7: Sunday, June 18 at 9:00 pm in Denver. *
* If necessary.
Jason Root is the go-to source for sports coverage at News Rebeat. With a passion for athletics and an in-depth knowledge of the latest sports trends, Jason provides comprehensive and engaging analysis of the world of sports.