In terms of the box score, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope had a quiet Game 1 of the 2023 NBA Finals in the Denver Nuggets' victory over the Miami Heat. In reality, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope was anything but quiet as the Nuggets took a 1-0 series lead over the Heat Thursday night.
Caldwell-Pope was mic'd up during the Nuggets 104-93 Game 1 win. The NBA has released sound of Caldwell-Pope from the 2023 NBA Finals opener. The veteran was continuously encouraging his Denver teammates, and the Nuggets were in control over the Heat from start to finish. Caldwell-Pope dealt with a sore right tailbone in the contest, but he expects to play in Game 2.
“This is our moment, man! Let’s take Game 1! This is our moment, let’s do it!” Caldwell-Pope told his teammates in the huddle just prior to tip-off for Nuggets-Heat Game 1.
“This is our moment, man! Let’s take Game 1! This is our moment, let’s do it!”
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope was mic’d up and dropping words of encouragement during Nuggets vs. Heat Game 1 💯
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) June 3, 2023
The footage released by the NBA showed Caldwell-Pope communicating with the Nuggets about defending different Heat players. Denver's defense held Miami to just one point per possession.
Jimmy Butler only had 13 points on 14 field-goal attempts for the Heat. Bam Adebayo led Miami with 26 points, but he needed 25 shots to do so. The Heat made 13 of their 39 attempts from 3-point range, shooting well below their average for the playoffs.
Caldwell-Pope finished with seven points, three rebounds and a steal. He was the only Denver starter who failed to score at least 14 points. Caldwell-Pope is the Nuggets' fifth-scoring option in the starting lineup, but he's the only Denver starter with a championship ring or NBA Finals experience.
Caldwell-Pope could end up being the Nuggets' X-factor in the series. If he has a strong offensive series, the Heat will have little chance to pull off the upset.