9:51 p.m. — Game 2 is Sunday.
Thursday night was one to remember! And Denver residents had reason to celebrate their first NBA Finals game in city history. The Nuggets need three more wins to bring home their first NBA title. See you all Sunday! — Alejandro A. Alonso Galva, CPR News Editor
9:44 p.m. — Aaron Gordon on guarding super stars like Lebron James, Kevin Durant and Jimmy Butler these playoffs.
"I'm definitely going to be sitting in my rocking chair when I'm 90 years old thinking about how I used to lock people up."
9:36 p.m. — More on Aaron Gordon.
Yes, Lebron James scored 40 points in the Nuggets' sweep-clinching Game 4 in the last round, but his game-tying shot at the buzzer was tied up by Jamal Murray and then blocked by Gordon.
Gordon, who used to be the No. 1 scoring option in Orlando, took a smaller offensive role in Denver behind its three max contract players — Nikola Jokic, Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. — following his 2021 trade to the Nuggets.
“There's really not a way to describe how valuable he is to our team,” Porter added. “I'm looking forward to him doing that again in this series.” — Arnie Stapleton, AP Sports Writer
9:33 p.m. — Defensive stalwart Gordon jump-starts Nuggets' offense in Game 1 rout of Miami.
Aaron Gordon took a detour from serving as Denver's defensive stalwart in these playoffs to jump-start the Nuggets' offense in the franchise's first foray into the NBA Finals.
Gordon not only helped hold Jimmy Butler to 13 points, but he muscled his way past Miami's smaller defenders in the paint, scoring 12 points and pulling down four rebounds in the first quarter as the Nuggets shook off a 10-day layover and rolled over the Heat 104-93 Thursday night.
Gordon had 14 points and five boards by the time the Nuggets went into their locker room up 59-42 at the break. That marked the largest halftime lead of a Game 1 in the finals since the Celtics jumped out to a 79-49 halftime lead over the Lakers on May 27, 1985, in a 34-point rout that was dubbed the “Memorial Day Massacre.”
Gordon has been the Nuggets' best defender in the playoffs, doing commendable jobs on the likes of Karl-Anthony Towns, Kevin Durant and LeBron James in helping the top-seeded Nuggets reach their first NBA Finals. — Arnie Stapleton, AP Sports Writer
9:29 p.m. — Some notes.
Jokic became the eighth player to have a triple-double in Game 1 of a finals. None of the others were accompanied by 27 points; Dave Cowens had a 25-point triple-double to open the 1976 finals. ... Bruce Brown, who played his college ball at Miami, scored 10. … Denver got to the foul line 20 times to Miami's two. – Tim Reynolds, AP Basketball Writer
9:28 p.m. — Celeb Watch.
Among those in the sellout crowd: Grammy winner H.E.R., NFL legend and former Denver quarterback Peyton Manning, current Denver quarterback Russell Wilson, Broncos coach Sean Payton and actor-comedian Ken Jeong.
9:25 p.m. — 10 days of preparation paid off.
Nuggets coach Michael Malone gave his team a pop quiz in shootaround Thursday morning, peppering them with questions about the game plan and what had to be done in the most important game to date in franchise history.
They had all the answers then. Had them all at game time, too. They were the team with minimal NBA Finals experience, only two players having been to the title round before, and yet they looked right at home before the home crowd in Game 1.
Jokic became the second player in the last 25 years — LeBron James was the other, in 2017 — to have 10 assists by halftime of a finals game. He had 10 points and 10 assists by the break, and Denver was up 59-42 after the first two quarters.
That wasn’t good for Miami. Nor was this: The Nuggets were in full control and Jokic had taken only three shots. – Tim Reynolds, AP Basketball Writer
9:24 p.m. Jokic on how the Nuggets dominated early, even without him many taking shots.
“I don’t need to shoot and I know I don’t need to score to affect the game."
9:21 p.m. — The Joker and Co.
The two-time NBA MVP finished with 27 points, 14 assists and 10 rebounds for the Nuggets, who waited 47 years to make the finals and didn’t disappoint.
“The most important thing is to win a game," Jokic said after his ninth triple-double of this year's playoffs — his sixth in his last seven games. “I’m trying to win a game in any possible way.”
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. – Tim Reynolds, AP Basketball Writer
9:10 p.m. The Miami Cold.
The Miami Heat got the looks. They just couldn’t knock them down.
It was that kind of forgettable shooting night for the Heat in a 104-93 loss to the Denver Nuggets during Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Thursday.
The stat lines were hard to fathom: Max Strus, 0 for 10. Duncan Robinson, 1 of 6. Even Caleb Martin, who had a stellar showing in the Eastern Conference finals, wasn't immune. He finished 1 of 7.
This was far from a shooting clinic for the Heat. – Pat Graham, AP Sports Writer
Our coverage of the Denver Nuggets:
- Where to watch the 2023 NBA Finals in Denver
- Nuggets 101: A quick guide for new fans
- Denver renames street in honor of Nuggets as fans wait in anticipation for Denver’s first NBA Finals
- Nikola Jokic is a baller for the Nuggets. To Denver Serbians, he’s an even bigger deal
- Commentary: The Denver Nuggets are in the NBA Finals … and I always believed
8:55 p.m. — Answering the call.
Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets were facing some questions going into their first NBA Finals, and their answers came in resounding fashion.
No, a week and a half off didn’t hurt them.
And no, the NBA’s biggest stage isn’t too big, either.
Jokic got a triple-double in his finals debut, Jamal Murray scored 26 points and the Nuggets had little trouble with the cold-shooting Miami Heat on the way to a 104-93 win in Game 1 on Thursday night. – Tim Reynolds, AP Basketball Writer
8:54 p.m. — If you're hoping for a sweep after a dominant Game 1, history says not so fast my friends.
The NBA Finals will end in six games. At least, that’s what history says.
Out of the first 76 editions of the NBA Finals — the 77th title series was Thursday night in Denver when the Nuggets hosted and dropped the Miami Heat — the series has ended in six games 30 times.
That’s by far the most common outcome.
The title series has gone to Game 7 on 19 occasions, ended in five games on 18 occasions and wound up as a four-game sweep only nine times.
Each of the last four years has seen the finals end in exactly six games — Toronto over Golden State in 2019, the Los Angeles Lakers over the Heat in 2020, Milwaukee over Phoenix in 2021 and Golden State over Boston last season. – Tim Reynolds, AP Basketball Writer
8:53 p.m. — That's one!
Game 1 is all Denver
8:47 p.m. — Denver is a No.1 seed, Miami is a No. 8 Seed, what does that mean historically?
Miami needs one win to break a tie with the 1998-99 New York Knicks for most wins by a No. 8 seed in NBA playoff history.
The Knicks went 12-8 in the playoffs that season on their way to the NBA Finals. The Heat are 12-6 so far in these playoffs.
If Miami wins a game in this series, it’ll be its fifth win over a No. 1 seed so far in these playoffs. Under this format, put into place by the NBA in 1984, no eighth-seeded team has gotten more than four wins against top-seeded opponents. The Knicks went 4-6 vs. No. 1 seeds in 1999; the Heat are 4-2 after ousting Milwaukee in Round 1 and dropping Game 1 to Denver. – Tim Reynolds, AP Basketball Writer
8:43 p.m. — Denver's first NBA Finals game in history is in the books.
Final: Denver 104 Miami 93
8:20 p.m. — Joker does it again
And Nikola Jokic has his triple double. — Alejandro A. Alonso Galva, CPR News Editor
8:38 p.m. — Hometown crowd.
Via Denverite photographer Kevin Beaty.
8:33 p.m. — The home stretch.
With just 5 minutes left: Denver 92 - Miami 78.
8:19 — Don't let up, Nugs.
And just like that, Miami cut the lead in half to 10. A reminder this team makes up ground quick. — Alejandro A. Alonso Galva, CPR News Editor
8:16 p.m. — If you're still wondering where the Heat's Jimmy Butler is...
Jimmy might be a no-show job right now. But I've seen him the cut the heart out of teams too many times to tempt fate right now. — Vic Vela, CPR News Sports Reporter
8:16 p.m. — If you're wondering where the Heat's Jimmy Butler is...
Butler: Just 11 points on 5-13 shooting after three quarters. — Tony Gorman, CPR News Reporter
8:15 p.m. — It feels good at the top.
The Denver Nuggets are just a better team than Miami. That's no disrespect to the Heat and what they've accomplished. But, pound for pound, they cannot beat Denver four times. They just aren't not equipped. And we're seeing that tonight. — Vic Vela, CPR News Sports Reporter
8:12 p.m. — At the end of three.
End of 3Q: Denver 84 Miami 63
8:12 p.m. — $20 bills y'all.
And Denver is up 21. I could get used to this. — Alejandro A. Alonso Galva, CPR News Editor
8:09 p.m. — Not at this altitude.
8:07 p.m. — Let it go, Miami.
Agreed, Tony. Anytime the Heat threaten to get within single digits, someone on the Nuggets steps up and wipes away that pipe dream altogether. Bruce Brown with a huge three there. Nuggets up 19, yo. Denver just has so many weapons. — Vic Vela, CPR News Sports Reporter
8:06 p.m. — Our beyond the arc threat is back.
After starting slow from deep, the Nuggets are knocking down the 3's. One of the biggest differences in the game. — Tony Gorman, CPR News Reporter
8:02 p.m. — Yeah, we feel good.
Via Denverite photographer Kevin Beaty.
8:01 p.m. — If you are wondering how things are going
Jokic is approaching a triple-double midday through the third, 19 point lead for the Nuggets. — Tony Gorman, CPR News Reporter
7:58 p.m. — "Once in a lifetime!"
"I just happy to be here. Go nuggets man. It's been a once in a lifetime. Been in a Nuggets fan for 35 years."— Gordon Banks
7:53 p.m. — The rebound game.
Nuggets have only 3 offensive rebounds, but 20 defensives rebounds. I guess you don't need to rebound on the offensive glass when you're making your shots. — Alejandro A. Alonso Galva, CPR News Editor
7:51 p.m. — No no no, not in this house.
7:46 p.m. — Meanwhile at the nation's capitol, Senator Michael Bennet isn't letting a late-night debt ceiling vote get in the way of his Nuggets pride.
7:43 p.m. — Why tonight feels both transcendent and like a sigh of relief.
Since coming to the NBA, the Nuggets have made the Western Conference Finals three times before this season. Every time, they were defeated by the Los Angeles Lakers. This season is different. The Nuggets secured the top-seed in the Western Conference and home court advantage throughout the playoffs. The team beat Minnesota, Phoenix, and finally, Lebron "King" James' Los Angeles Lakers. This team has done it the right way since day one. — Tony Gorman, CPR News Reporter
7:40 p.m. — Nuggets defense + altitude = a rough start for Miami's star.
Jimmy Butler has been held to 7 points in the first half for Miami. Bam Adebayo is leading the Heat right now with 16 points. — Tony Gorman, CPR News Reporter
7:32 p.m. — This is nice, but it's early.
Things are looking good, but the Heat are here for a reason. Miami is the first play-in team and second 8th seed in history to make it to the NBA Finals. They have plenty of experience and tenacity on this stage. The franchise is playing for its fourth title in its seventh appearance. The team lost its first play-in game against Atlanta, but rebounded against Chicago to earn the eighth seed. Then the team went on to upset overall #1 seed Milwaukee, then New York and Boston to make it to the Finals. — Tony Gorman, CPR News Reporter
7:31 p.m. — Joker and Co.
Three Nuggets players have scored in the double digits so far this half. Murray leading the way with 18 points. Nikola Jokic has 10 points and 10 rebounds and, per usual, has been the conductor on the offensive end with a double-double entering the half. — Vic Vela, CPR News Sports Reporter
7:29 p.m. — Ohhh! We're half way there!
At the half: Denver 59 Miami 42
7:27 p.m. — #SquadGoals
The Nuggets look very good right now. Everyone on the team is involved. Not a one man show at all. Everyone is contributing tonight. — Vic Vela, CPR News Sports Reporter
7:27 p.m. — No zebras in sight.
It's been a pretty clean game so far. Very few whistles. Refs not involved much at all, which is good. Neither team in any real foul trouble as we approach halftime. — Vic Vela, CPR News Sports Reporter
7:25 p.m. — Who says divisional play is meaningless?
Some food for thought: For the 11th time in the last 12 seasons, a division champion will win the NBA title.
Denver won the Northwest Division. Miami won the Southeast Division.
Last season, Golden State won the NBA title despite finishing 11 games behind Phoenix. That snapped a streak of 10 consecutive years when the eventual NBA champion also won its division. Before Golden State last year, the most recent division nonwinner to grab the title was Dallas in 2011. – Tim Reynolds, AP Basketball Writer
7:23 p.m. — The Joker is in.
Nikola Jokic just did a Nikola Jokic ungodly thing and the crowd is just in love with this, and the Nuggets are up 13. Biggest lead of the game thus far. — Vic Vela, CPR News Sports Reporter
7:20 p.m. — Denver @ home.
The Nuggets have now tied a franchise record by playing their 50th home game of the season. (And that, of course, means they’ll break the team record in Game 2 on Sunday night.)
Denver has already set a single-season franchise home wins mark, with 42 entering this series (42-7). If the Nuggets go 3-0 or 4-0 home in the NBA Finals, they’ll pass the 1976-77 team (38-6, .864) for the second-best home record in franchise history.
They were 40-4 at home in 2012-13, the team’s single-season best mark. – Tim Reynolds, AP Basketball Writer
7:19 p.m. — Once a risky gamble, now a sure thing: Michael Porter Jr. is delivering.
MPJ has been super active on both sides of the court tonight, especially in the 2nd quarter. He's got 10 points so far this game and has had a couple SportsCenter moments already. — Vic Vela, CPR News Sports Reporter
7:14 pm. — How big is tonight for Denver?
The last time the Denver Nuggets played for a league title was during the final season of the American Basketball Association. During the 1975-76 season, the top-seeded Denver Nuggets lost to “Dr. J” Julius Erving in the ABA Finals, 4-2. The Nuggets joined the NBA the following season. — Tony Gorman, CPR News Reporter
7:11 p.m. — We'll take a dozen, please.
And just like that, the Nuggets are up 12. — Alejandro A. Alonso Galva, CPR News Editor
7:08 p.m. — What they are saying at the fruit kabob stand.
"In the postseason, fewer people are coming to your stand than the regular season because people want to watch the game in the postseason. And in the concourse in the post season you have more people screaming their heads off than in the regular season." – Simon Torosian, fruit kabob man in the arena.
7:01 p.m. — A quarter of the way there for game one.
At the end of 1Q: Denver 29 - Miami 20.
7:01 p.m. — At the end of one.
This crowd is ridiculously pumped, living and dying on every shot. Easily the loudest crowd I've been a part of all postseason, and I've been to every home playoff game. — Vic Vela, CPR News Sports Reporter
6:58 p.m. — Early trends.
Aaron Gordon is absolutely the biggest story so far in the first quater. He's already got 12 pts and 4 rebounds, and he's just dominating inside the paint. — Vic Vela, CPR News Sports Reporter
6:55 p.m. — Maybe the rust is behind the arc?
The Nuggets have a comfortable lead, but they are 0-4 to on 3 point shots to start Game 1. Maybe 10 days off means the long range looks are cold. — Alejandro A. Alonso Galva, CPR News Editor
6:54 p.m. — It's a team sport.
Just over 2 minutes left in the 1st quarter and Jokic hasn't taken a shot yet. Interesting. — Alejandro A. Alonso Galva, CPR News Editor
6:52 p.m. — Actor of The Hangover fame Ken Jeong on Jokic.
"It's great he’s getting the spotlight that he deserves. Now the world will see what basketball fans in Denver have known for years. He’s just the absolute best."
6:49 p.m. — Look who Vic Vela ran into!
"I'm honestly just the biggest fan for the NBA. I was at game three of Lakers and Nuggets and Jamal (Murray) put up a clinic. Just outstanding."
6:46 p.m. — Who said the Nuggets would be rusty?
After waiting 10 days to hit the hardwood since their last game, the Nuggets have jumped to a quick 14-9 lead, forcing an early Miami timeout. — Alejandro A. Alonso Galva, CPR News Editor
6:38 p.m. — And let's go!
"This crowd has waited 47 years!"
6:34 p.m. — Let's go Nuggets!
6:33 p.m. — The Nuggets need to get warmed up after a 10 days off.
6:33 p.m. — Emily Anderson has been in Colorado for 40 years.
"It’s a once in a lifetime moment! We’re so excited. We have the best team in the nation, and Denver is rocking and rolling!"
— Vic Vela, CPR News Sports Reporter
6:30 p.m. — Just minutes away!
6:19 p.m. — Vanessa and George Maldonado of Colorado Springs are lifelong Nugs fans, born and raised in Colorado.
— Vic Vela, CPR News Sports Reporter
6:16 p.m. — It's shootaround time.
The Heat came out and everyone just started booing. Miami is up against elevation and Nugget nation. — Tony Gorman, CPR News Reporter
6:07 p.m. — Miami Coach Eric Spoelstra on team continuity: What Denver has built is stable and consistent.
"I would’ve been fired four or five times when I didn’t make it to the playoffs. We're both thankful that we have stable ownership."
5:45 p.m. — Ball Arena never looked so good.
5:11 p.m. — Kay Peterson has worked at ball arena since 2012.
"You can feel the energy walking in. It's very exciting."
Peterson says she's seen some bad Nuggets teams in her time, but this team is the one to take us to the top. She noted Nuggets fans drink more when the team wins. — Vic Vela, CPR News Sports Reporter
5:03 p.m. — Coach Malone on the long layover between the Nuggets sweep of the L.A. Lakers and the start of the NBA Finals.
"In the ten days we were off we tried to do the best job to give them rest."
4:48 p.m. — Nuggets Head Coach Michael Malone on successful coaching.
"Staying true to yourself and confident."
— Tony Gorman, CPR News Reporter
4:47 p.m. — CPR's Vic Vela is at Ball Arena!
4:51 p.m. — Pregame presser with Coach Malone
"We understand we have a lot of work and we’re not satisfied," Nuggets Coach Michael Malone ahead of Game 1.
— Tony Gorman, CPR News Reporter
4:33 p.m. — Michael Porter Jr. will be key to giving star center Nikola Jokic some help and the Nuggets success
Porter is averaging 14.6 points and eight rebounds through the playoffs, while also holding his own on the defensive end of the floor.
“He’s done amazing," Murray said. "Just playing a more complete game throughout the game.” — Pat Graham, AP Sports Writer
4:27 p.m. — The NBA Finals will end in six games. At least, that’s what history says.
Out of the first 76 editions of the NBA Finals — the 77th title series starts Thursday night in Denver when the Nuggets play host to the Miami Heat — the series has ended in six games 30 times. That’s by far the most common outcome. The title series has gone to Game 7 on 19 occasions, ended in five games on 18 occasions and wound up as a four-game sweep only nine times. — Tim Reynolds, AP Basketball Writer
4:25 p.m. — Referees investigation
Eric Lewis was not selected as one of the 12 referees who will work the NBA Finals, while the league continues to investigate whether he used a Twitter account to defend himself and other referees from online complaints. Lewis had been chosen to work The Finals in each of the last four seasons. But after some now-deleted tweets were revealed 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 if Lewis was using the account. — Tim Reynolds, AP Basketball Writer
4:21 p.m. — Draft Michael Porter Jr. was once considered a risky pick by the Denver Nuggets
All those smooth-looking, long-range jumpers Michael Porter Jr. hits have definitely been a reward for Denver.
Easy to forget just how much of a risk he was early on for the Nuggets.
They rolled the dice at No. 14 in the 2018 draft on a 6-foot-10 forward with a balky back to go with a tremendous set of skills. He's gone through three back procedures since college and missed basically two of his five NBA seasons, but still showed enough flashes of talent to earn a max extension.
Without taking that gamble on Porter, the Nuggets might not be here, starting their first NBA Finals on Thursday night against Miami. He's become their X factor — the third part of a hard-to-contain trio that also includes Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray. – Pat Graham, AP Sports Writer
4:18 p.m. — The Finals are here!
After a nearly half-century wait, the NBA Finals have finally arrived in Denver. We'll bring you live fun from the stadium from our very own Tony Gorman and Vic Vela. — Alejandro A. Alonso Galva, CPR News Editor
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