The Denver Nuggets were the 1-seed in the Western Conference this season and they were the favorites going up against the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference Finals. Many thought Denver was capable of winning this series, but nobody saw them sweeping the Lakers in four games!
Now in the NBA Finals, the Nuggets await the results of the Eastern Conference Finals series between the Boston Celtics and Miami Heat to see who their opponents will be. Speaking to the media on Friday afternoon, head coach Michael Malone discussed the Nuggets’ journey to their first ever Finals appearance and he went into detail about the team’s reaction to winning Game 4 over LeBron James and the Lakers.
“I think all of us were somewhat stunned when the buzzer went off, there was no whistle. Holy sh*t, we won,” Malone said while laughing. “And I think I speak for a lot of people. So that was amazing.”
“I think all of us were somewhat stunned when the buzzer went off, there was no whistle. Holy sh*t, we won. And I think I speak for a lot of people.”
Nuggets coach Michael Malone looks back on the final play of Game 4 vs. the Lakers 😅pic.twitter.com/JRgo0Kr7b0
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) May 26, 2023
All season long, Denver has been one of the most dominant teams in the entire league, so it is not necessarily a surprise to see them in the NBA Finals. What is surprising though, as Malone said, was the fact that they swept the Lakers the way they did given the play at the end of Game 4.
The Lakers trailed by two points with four seconds left in what turned out to be the final game of the Western Conference Finals. James got the ball for the Lakers and immediately looked to attack the basket. Both Jamal Murray and Aaron Gordon came over to defend him, blocking his shot and sending the Nuggets to the NBA Finals. Los Angeles and James were convinced there was a foul, but the NBA has since come out and said in their Last Two Minute Report that this was the correct no-call.
Making the NBA Finals is a big accomplishment for the Nuggets, but the job is not done yet. This team has high title aspirations and no matter who comes out of the East, Denver’s focus is only on winning four more games this year. On June 1 when the Finals begin, the Nuggets will have a chance to continue making history.