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Basketball: Denver Nuggets see off Miami Heat to claim first NBA title

Led by 28 points from Nikola Jokic, the Denver Nuggets beat the Miami Heat 94-89 on Monday to bring a first NBA title to Mile High City.

With a raucous capacity crowd packed into Ball Arena ready to celebrate, the Nuggets ended a 47-year championship wait by taking the best-of-seven series 4-1.

Once again the Nuggets were led by Jokic, the Serbian big man hitting for a double-double of 28 points and 16 rebounds while Michael Porter Jr. contributed 16 points and 13 rebounds.

The eighth-seeded Heat had defied the odds throughout the postseason, taking out the Milwaukee Bucks, New York Knicks and Boston Celtics, but the challenge facing them on Monday was a near impossible one.

Of the 36 teams that have fallen behind 3-1 in an NBA Finals only one, the 2016 Cleveland Cavaliers, came back to claim the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy.

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Making the task even more daunting, Ball Arena has been a virtual fortress for the Nuggets, who were 9-1 at home during the postseason.

That one loss however came against Miami in Game Two.

Jokic scoops MVP

Nikola Jokic claimed the NBA’s Most Valuable Player crown, capping off his season with a 28 point haul.

Using dad’s trophy as drums 🥁

The Jokic family 💕

— NBA (@NBA) June 13, 2023

“It’s got to be,” smiled Jokic, when asked if this was the golden era for Serbian athletes. “Sport is something in Serbia that puts us in front of everybody.”

“Now we have Djokovic, probably the best ever, and now we have an NBA championship,” he said.

“I think it is a very good moment to be a Serbian,” he proclaimed.

Djokovic stormed to his third title at Roland Garros on Sunday, beating Casper Ruud in straight sets to stand alone at the summit of men’s tennis with his 23 majors.

Jokic was the clear choice to win the Bill Russell Trophy as the NBA Finals MVP after the Serbian big man averaged 30.2 points, 14.0 rebounds and 7.2 assists.

The 41st pick in the 2014 NBA draft, Jokic becomes the lowest-drafted player in NBA history to be named Finals MVP and the first player drafted outside of the top 15 to win the award.

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