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The Denver Nuggets have won the NBA Finals for the first time in the team's history

Denver Nuggets players, coaches and owners hold up the Larry O'Brien NBA Championship Trophy after the team's victory over the Miami Heat in Game 5 of basketball's NBA Finals, Monday, June 12, 2023, in Denver.
David Zalubowski
/
AP
Denver Nuggets players, coaches and owners hold up the Larry O'Brien NBA Championship Trophy after the team's victory over the Miami Heat in Game 5 of basketball's NBA Finals, Monday, June 12, 2023, in Denver.

The Denver Nuggets won the NBA Finals Monday night, making it the first title in the team's 47-year NBA history.

The Nuggets defeated the Miami Heat by a score of 94-89, winning the best-of-seven series in five games.

Nuggets center Nikola Jokić, a 28-year-old from Serbia, led the team with 28 points and 16 rebounds and was named the NBA Finals most valuable player.

"It was an amazing effort by the team," Jokic said moments after the game ended. "It was an ugly game; we couldn't make shots. But at the end we figured out how to defend. That's why we won the game."

Denver fans took to the streets and social media to celebrate the historic win. Local news footage of downtown Denver showed hordes of fans gathered, cheering, climbing light posts and setting off fireworks.

"I really never thought I'd see the Denver Nuggets win a championship. ever," a fan tweeted. "But we picked a 19 year old Center from Serbia with the 41st pick and he just led us to a championship."

Fans of other NBA teams celebrated Denver's first title, as well.

"Fans of teams with multiple championships don't understand what it's like as a fan to see this statistic go from 0 to 1 for your favorite team," a Dallas Mavericks fan tweeted. "Congrats Denver Fans. Enjoy it to the fullest! Let it bring you happiness!"

"Congratulations to Denver!" a Heat fan said. "I swear I'd be rooting for y'all if it wasn't my team playing on the other side. I'm so happy for Jokic. I'm so happy for the fans!! this is y'all's first championship ever! Couldn't think of anyone who deserved it more other than Miami lol."

Nuggets head coach Michael Malone referenced Miami Heat President and former coach Pat Riley after the win, saying he kept a quote from him on the wall about "the evolution in this game, and how you go from a nobody to an upstart, and an upstart to a winner, and a winner to a contender, and a contender to a champion and the last step after a champion is to be a dynasty, so we're not satisfied."

"We accomplished something this franchise has never done before, but we have a lot of young, talented players in that locker room, and I think we just showed through 16 playoff wins what we're capable of on the biggest stage in the world," Malone said.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Ayana Archie
[Copyright 2024 NPR]

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