Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray unsurprisingly emerged as the biggest heroes for the Denver Nuggets in Game 1 of the 2023 NBA Finals against the Miami Heat. But Nuggets head coach Michael Malone was not going to let people forget about the fantastic, tone-setting performance of Denver forward Aaron Gordon, who played a crucial role in laying the groundwork for his team's dominant 104-93 victory Thursday night at home.

“I think Aaron Gordon is a prime example of somebody who's truly selfless,” Malone said in front of reporters during the postgame press conference (h/t Joel Rush of Forbes Sports). “He does a lot of the dirty work for us. And a lot of times he doesn't get the credit that he deserves,” Malone added.

Aaron Gordon scored 12 of his 16 points in the series opener in the first quarter, as he used his size to full advantage, bullying his way into the shaded area for high-percentage attempts.

Gordon was only able to score four more points the rest of the way, with Jokic and Murray taking over on offense, but he contributed in a lot of other ways. All told, Gordon shot 7-for-10 from the field, dished out an assist, grabbed six rebounds, and had a block in addition to his points total in 36 minutes of action on the court. He was also largely responsible for the quiet night of Jimmy Butler, who went just 6-for-14 for 13 points.

The Nuggets expect Aaron Gordon to keep that form as they prepare for Game 2 to be held on Sunday at home.