The Denver Nuggets have come as far as they have done thanks to the unselfish brand of basketball that they play. The Nuggets take after their best player Nikola Jokic to such a great degree, and it showed in how they won Game 1 of the 2023 NBA Finals against the Miami Heat.
From the get-go, the Nuggets got into an offensive rhythm the Heat simply couldn't shake them out of, and it's all thanks to the Nuggets players' ethos of playing for something bigger than themselves. They ended their 104-93 Game 1 win with 29 assists on 40 made field goals, and in doing so, their two stars joined some exclusive company.
Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray had 14 and 10 assists, respectively, becoming just the third pair of teammates in history to each tally double-digit assists in an NBA Finals game. Only Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen (thrice) and Magic Johnson and James Worthy (twice) have accomplished the feat in the past. Suffice to say, that is some pretty lofty company — as those four players have 20 championship rings combined.
Of course, it's a testament to the Nuggets players' ability to take advantage of the attention both Jokic and Murray draw that they were able to rack up that many assists among them. Five Nuggets in total scored in double-digits, with Aaron Gordon, Michael Porter Jr., and Bruce Brown providing some much-needed support.
But in the end, it was Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray who was a class above anyone who suited up in Game 1 of the 2023 NBA Finals. In addition to their sublime playmaking display, Jokic and Murray were also at their best in other facets of the contest. Jokic, in particular, looked like his usual MVP self. In addition to his 14 dimes, he also racked up 10 rebounds and put up 27 points on an incredible 8-12 shooting from the field.
When the Nuggets are clicking like this — even echoing the performances of Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Magic Johnson, and James Worthy — it's difficult to envision any team having enough weapons on the defensive end to slow them down. The Heat will have to ratchet up the intensity, but even then, the Nuggets offense simply may be too overwhelming to deal with.