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Basketball: Denver win NBA finals opener

Denver Nuggets Forward Nikola Jokic.

Denver Nuggets Forward Nikola Jokic.
Photo: Photosport

The Denver Nuggets have beaten the Miami Heat 104-93 in game one of the NBA finals.

Well aware of their opponent’s penchant for fast starts, the Denver Nuggets treated their first-ever NBA Finals game as if everything were on the line.

Even with the Game 1 urgency, Nuggets star Nikola Jokic never panicked, finishing off another triple-double with 27 points, 10 rebounds and 14 assists as the Nuggets rolled to victory.

“Right now, the most important thing is to win a game, and I’m trying to win a game in any possible way,” Jokic said on the ABC broadcast.

“I don’t need to shoot and I know I don’t need to score to affect the game, and I think I did a good job today. Everybody contributed.”

Nikola Jokic (L) of the Denver Nuggets handles the ball against LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers during game three of the Western Conference Finals in California.

Nikola Jokic in action against the LA Lakers in the Western Conference playoffs.
Photo: AFP

Denver, the Western Conference’s top seed, shot 59.5 percent from the field in the first half and 50.6 percent for the game while improving to 9-0 at home in the playoffs.

The Nuggets were sharp, even after a nine-day wait between their conference-final sweep and the start of the NBA Finals.

Bam Adebayo amassed 26 points and 13 rebounds for the Heat, but Jimmy Butler was held to 13 points on 6-of-14 shooting.

The No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference failed to win the opener of a series on the road for the first time in four tries.

Game 2 in the best-of-seven series is on Monday.


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