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2023 NBA Finals - Game Five

The Denver Nuggets made history as a franchise on Monday (June 12) after besting the Miami Heat on their home floor in an entertaining game with highs and lows. Much is being said about Nikola Jokić, the NBA Finals MVP, and how he’s already detaching himself from the game to get back to the other things he loves.

The Denver Nuggets entered Monday night’s game with a 3-1 advantage in their best-of-seven series against the Miami Heat, who failed to defend their home court in the previous two games. Jokić, much as he’s been throughout the playoffs, was spectacular and led all scorers with 28 points and 16 rebounds. It was a rocky game for the Nuggets, who leaned on the talented Serbian big man who helped deliver Denver its first NBA championship.

On the other side, NBA fans are questioning what happened to Jimmy Butler in his final game of the season, despite his many heroics over the course of the playoffs. By most measures, the Heat shouldn’t have made it this far but they found their way and came very close to the ultimate goal. Butler is getting unfairly criticized by a bunch of people who probably have a hard time opening their fridge door while the star player gave it his all.

Basketball, like boxing, is a game of styles and matchups. Even when stars like Jamal Murray aren’t shooting lights out, there’s always Jokić anchoring the team and keeping other starters like Aaron Gordon, Bruce Brown, and Michael Porter Jr. involved. It was a true team effort with lots of defensive pressure from the Nuggets, who many see as just an offensive team. Last night, they proved that they can bang it out with any team with the same grit they’ve been accused of not having.

One of the most hilarious moments of the evening was the moment Jokić was named the NBA Finals MVP. Never before has a star player like Jokić looked so disaffected and perhaps even embarrassed about the fanfare. Largely, Jokić just wanted to be around his wife and daughter, and his two burly brothers that he admires. After the game, the pass-first center told sideline reporter Lisa Salters how he felt after winning the title, “It’s good, it’s good. The job is done, we can go home now.”

The running joke online will be how bored and over it Nikola Jokić looked at times. The truth is, he was plenty emotional, especially with his brothers. Back in the locker room, Jokić even goofed off with his teammates, his other band of brothers. It just wasn’t for the national stage.

Yes, Jokić is a selfless anomaly that we may never see again but what should stand out is, just as his coach Mike Malone often says, it’s all about family with his star player. Add in the fact that he made sure to congratulate the entire Heat team before joining his teammates in celebration speaks volumes about how he respects others in the sport and realizes it’s just a game at the end of the day.

That alone is reason enough to be happy for Nikola Jokić and the Denver Nuggets.

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Photo: Source: Matthew Stockman / Getty

Denver Nuggets Are The 2022-23 NBA Champions, Nikola Jokić Named MVP  was originally published on