For the last couple of seasons, the Denver Nuggets have risen to be a competitive Western Conference team. We have seen the development of Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray, where Jokic has become the MVP twice. With the return of Murray from a long-term injury, the team is going to the NBA Finals for the first time in the franchise’s 56-year history.
Their performance early in the season was a surprise to many, many not expecting Denver to finish as a number one seed, let alone the finals. Let us look at how Denver ended up in the finals.
Denver had never reached the championship round in its 47 years as an NBA franchise. The Sacramento Kings haven’t been since 1951, breaking the record for the longest championship drought. In April of 2021, Denver’s standout guard Jamal Murray suffered an ACL tear in his left knee.
Murray missed the remainder of the season and the entire 2021-22 campaign due to injury. Denver’s perseverance paid off in the postseason this year. Denver took over the Western Division lead in December and never relinquished it.
They won the first-round series against the Minnesota Timberwolves 4-1 and the second-round series against the Suns 4-2. Oddsmakers found on reputable sites like betway mobile did not pick the Nuggets to win the championship despite the team’s domination throughout the season.
How the Nuggets Got Into the Finals
With a shot at a sweep, the Nuggets headed to Los Angeles on Monday, 22nd May, hoping to take on the Lakers and propel themselves into uncharted territory with a series victory. The first half of the game was a complete failure for them. At the halftime break, the Lakers led their opponent by a score of 73-58 thanks to 31 points scored by LeBron James and a 17-to-6 edge in free throws made.
Turning the page would have been simple for the Denvers. They could have easily thrown in the towel, accepted defeat, and kept themselves in contention for Wednesday’s Game 5 if they had chosen to do so. But they did not do that.
The Nuggets proved to be tough. They did not even flinch. During the third quarter, the Denvers had a scoring advantage of 36-16 over the Lakers. A deficit of 15 points suddenly became a lead of five points. However, there was still time left in the game.
The Lakers, led by Anthony Davis and LeBron James, were persistent. The outcome of the match was decided in the nick of time. The score was tied 111-111 when Nikola Jokic made a layup to break the deadlock.
Then, with only four seconds left to play, Jamal Murray and Aaron Gordon were able to prevent Lebron from advancing the ball. The final score was 113-111 in favor of Denver. With the win, they have secured a spot in the NBA Finals.
To answer the question, Did we know Denver would get to the Finals at the beginning of the Season? The odds of that happening were extremely low. The series-clinching fourth victory is always the most difficult. Making history by being the first team to reach the NBA Finals is no easy task.