Denver Nuggets beat Miami Heat in chaotic Game 5 for first NBA title

Veteran forward Bruce Brown (L) scored the go-ahead basket in the Denver Nuggets' win over the Miami Heat in Game 5 of the NBA Finals on Monday in Denver. Photo by John G. Mabanglo/EPA-EFE
Veteran forward Bruce Brown (L) scored the go-ahead basket in the Denver Nuggets' win over the Miami Heat in Game 5 of the NBA Finals on Monday in Denver. Photo by John G. Mabanglo/EPA-EFE

June 13 (UPI) -- Nikola Jokic totaled a game-high 28 points and dominated on the glass, leading the Denver Nuggets to a chaotic Game 5 win over the Miami Heat and clinching the franchise's first title in 47 years Monday in Denver.

"We were not winning for ourselves," Nuggets center Nikola Jokic said on the ABC broadcast after the 94-89 victory. "We were winning for the guys next to us. This is a great group of people and a great group of teammates.


"We believed in each other and the relationships we have."

Players repeatedly slid across the floor, wrestled for loose balls and struggled to find open looks at the rim throughout the contest.

Forward Bruce Brown jumped between defenders for a put-back layup to give the Nuggets their final advantage with 91 seconds remaining in the game. The basket halted a fierce rally that saw Jimmy Butler scoring the Heat's final 13 points.


Jokic totaled 16 rebounds and four assists, in addition to his point total, en route to NBA Finals MVP honors. Forward Michael Porter Jr. and guard Jamal Murray chipped in 16 and 14 points, respectively.

"We had the belief from the get-go," Murray said. "It's great to see it through."

Butler totaled 21 points for the Heat. Center Bam Adebayo scored 20 points, including 18 in the first half.

The Nuggets outshot the Heat 45.2% to 34.4%. The teams combined to make just 14 of 63 3-point attempts. The game featured nine lead changes and was tied six times. The Heat led by as many as 10 points in the loss.

"Those last three or four minutes felt like a scene out of a movie," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra told reporters. "Two teams in the center of the ring, throwing haymaker after haymaker. Guys were staggering around because both teams were competing so hard.

"There's no regrets on our end. Sometimes you get beat. Denver was the better basketball team in this series."

The Heat scored the first five points of the game, but the Nuggets responded with a 16-3 run. The Heat, who went on a nearly five-minute scoring drought during the Nuggets surge, ended the quarter on a 10-4 run and carried a 24-22 edge into the second quarter.


Adebayo scored 14 points over the first 12 minutes, including the Heat's final 10 points of the quarter.

The Heat used a 9-2 run to push the lead to 10 points with 7:17 remaining in the first half. They led 51-44 at halftime.

The Heat shot just 38.8% through the first two quarters, but forced 10 Nuggets turnovers.

Jokic took over in the third, sparking a 13-5 run to help the Nuggets tie the score at 60-60. The Nuggets later took a brief lead before Heat guard Kyle Lowry made a 3-pointer for a 71-70 edge to end the quarter.

The Nuggets opened the fourth on a 13-5 run to take a seven-point edge. Butler responded with his clutch scoring outburst. Those points fueled a 13-5 run to give the lead back to the Heat with 1:58 remaining.

Murray tossed up a fade-away jumper 25 seconds later, which missed the target. Brown then out-hustled Heat players for an offensive rebound and made a put-back layup off the glass, putting the Nuggets up 90-89.

Butler missed a 3-pointer and logged a turnover on the Heat's final key possessions, sealing the loss.

Brown and guard Kentavious Caldwell Pope made four consecutive free throws in the final seconds to ice the victory.


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