Nikola Jokić’s triple-double leads the Denver Nuggets to a Game 1 win against the Miami Heat in their NBA Finals debut

DENVER — Nikola Jokić had a triple-double in his NBA Finals debut, Jamal Murray scored 26 points and the Denver Nuggets had little trouble with the cold-shooting Miami Heat on the way to a 104-93 win in Game 1 on Thursday night.

Jokić finished with 27 points, 14 assists and 10 rebounds for the Nuggets, who waited 47 years to make the Finals and didn’t disappoint. Aaron Gordon added 16 points and Michael Porter Jr. scored 14 for the Nuggets, who trailed for all of 34 seconds and led by as many as 24.


Bam Adebayo finished with 26 points and 13 rebounds for the Heat, who shot 41% for the game — 33% from 3-point range. Gabe Vincent scored 19, Haywood Highsmith had 18 and Jimmy Butler added 13.

Game 2 is Sunday night in Denver.


The Heat opened the fourth quarter with an 11-0 run, cutting an 84-63 deficit to 84-74. The Heat pulled within nine on a 3-pointer by Highsmith with 2:34 left but got no closer.

Nuggets coach Michael Malone gave his team a pop quiz in shootaround Thursday morning, peppering them with questions about the game plan and what had to be done in the most important game to date in franchise history.

They had all the answers then. Had them all at game time too. They were the team with minimal NBA Finals experience, only two players having been to the title round before, and yet they looked right at home before the home crowd in Game 1.

Jokić became the second player in the last 25 years — LeBron James was the other, in 2017 — to have 10 assists by halftime of a Finals game. He had 10 points and 10 assists by the break, and Denver was up 59-42.

That wasn’t good for the Heat. Nor was this: The Nuggets were in full control and Jokic had taken only three shots.

And this part was worse: The Heat just couldn’t shoot. Max Strus was 0-for-10 through three quarters, 0-for-9 on 3-pointers. Caleb Martin — who narrowly missed out on winning the MVP award of the Eastern Conference Finals — was 1-for-7.