The Denver Nuggets are officially going to the NBA Finals after defeating the Los Angeles Lakers, 113-111.
Two-time MVP Nikola Jokic recorded his eighth triple-double, recording 30 points, 14 rebounds, and 13 assists to go with his three blocks and one steal. Jamal Murray added 25 points, three rebounds, an assist, and a block.
At the same time. the remaining players in the Nuggets’ starting five also were in double digits. Michael Porter Jr had 15, Aaron Gordon had 22, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope with 13.
Meanwhile, the Lakers were not able to capitalize on LeBron James’ 31-point half performance as they collapsed in quarters three and four, allowing the Nuggets to erase their 15-point lead in the first half. James had 40 points, ten rebounds, nine assists, and two steals in the defeat.
Anthony Davis had 21 points, 14 rebounds, one assist, one steal, and three blocks. Austin Reaves was also phenomenal, having 17 points in 6-11 shooting.
With the defeat of the Lakers, the Nuggets took their first-ever conference title after 47 seasons in the NBA, and Murray was still on cloud nine going into the press conference.
“It’s incredible,” Murray said. “It’s a lot of fun. It’s surreal. We’re going to keep making history, that’s the thing. We’re going to keep that mindset.”
Jokic played almost all of the 48-minute action, being on the floor for 45 minutes. Hence, he was able to surpass Wilt Chamberlain’s triple-double record before heading to the NBA Finals for the first time.
A Big Win for the Denver Nuggets
By eliminating the Lakers, the Denver Nuggets have several days to recharge and prepare. They will be waiting if the Miami Heat could also eliminate the Boston Celtics in four games.
And the splendid performance wowed James as they head to the locker room after the loss. He had the chance to tie the score with under four seconds remaining in the fourth, but the combined effort of Murray and Gordon prevented possible overtime.
“Me and AD were just talking in the locker room (and) we came to the consensus this is one of the best teams, if not the best team, we’ve played together for all four years,” James said of the Nuggets.
“Just well-orchestrated, well put together. They have scoring. They have shooting. They have playmaking. They have smarts. They have length. They have depth. And one thing about their team, when you have a guy like Jokic, who as big as he is but also as cerebral as he is, you can’t really make many mistakes versus a guy like that.”
Although they lost in the Western Conference Finals, and disappointing bettors, the Lakers had an incredible season. They first turned things around after starting 2-10. They also beat the No. 2 seed Memphis Grizzlies and quickly made it past the ‘21-’22 NBA champions the Golden State Warriors.
All in all, the Lakers had an incredible playoff run and coach Darvin Ham can only say, “Nothing but love and respect for the Denver Nuggets.”