Game 1 of the 2023 NBA Finals took place Thursday evening and, in 48 minutes of action, the Denver Nuggets managed to cool off the white-hot Miami Heat. Dropping 104 points on 50.6% shooting from the field, Nikola Jokic and company proved on the game's biggest stage why they've been viewed as one of if not the best team in the association all season long.
Following the contest, the club's two-time MVP was asked during his post-game media session how he believes his teammates ‘enhance' his play on the hardwood, particularly in the passing department. In a highly complementary fashion, Jokic revealed that the freedom that his running mates have to roam has had a major impact on his and, frankly, the Nuggets' game as a whole.
“I mean, I've played with Jamal that way [for a long time] and I think everybody [likes it] because they're touching the ball. It's not like you're just [catching and shooting]. They have the opportunity to touch the ball to do something with it [and] to take and create an advantage. I think we're playing a really nice brand of basketball,” Nikola Jokic said.
Throughout the postseason, the Denver Nuggets have ranked first in offensive rating (119.2), second in assist ratio (19.1), and third in both assists and points. A major reason for this success has been due to the sensational passing abilities of Jokic, who leads this year's postseason in assists per game with 10.5.
During Thursday's Game 1, the 28-year-old put these abilities on full display, as he joined Michael Jordan as the only two players in league history to lead both teams in points and assists in their NBA Finals debut. He would finish the game with a triple-double, registering 27 points, 14 assists, and 10 rebounds while shooting 66.7% from the floor and 50.0% from deep.