The Denver Nuggets had reason to celebrate Monday night in Los Angeles.
For the first time in franchise history, the Nuggets will play for an NBA Championship, completing a four-game sweep of the Los Angeles Lakers to advance to the NBA Finals.
It’s the first NBA Finals appearance for the franchise in 47 NBA seasons.
They were led by two-time MVP Nikola Jokic, who broke Wilt Chamberlain’s 1967 NBA record for triple-doubles in a postseason by posting a stat line of 30 points, 15 rebounds, and 13 assists.
And his two burly brothers were there to celebrate his accomplishment.
Jokic’s brothers lifted Nuggets head coach Mike Malone off the ground as Denver celebrated its 113-111 win in Game 4.
Jokic has been otherworldly during the 2023 NBA Playoffs, averaging 29.9 points, 13.3 rebounds, and 10.3 assists in 15 games.
He scored the game-winning basket with 51.1 seconds left in the fourth quarter and played the final 33 minutes of Game 4.
“I think that’s why playoffs are so nice and so interesting, because you don’t care about how tired you are,” Jokic said. “You don’t care about minutes, fouls, shots, percentage. You just want to win a game. Some plays today we weren’t playing good defense sometimes, (but) you can win it in every kind of possible way.”
Lakers star LeBron James had a chance to send the game into overtime, but Nuggets forward Aaron Gordon blocked his shot at the rim, sending Denver onto the floor in celebration.
“For that game to go down to the wire and for the ball to be in LeBron James’ hands, those seconds were an eternity,” Malone said. “When the buzzer went off, it was almost surreal for a second. Couldn’t be more proud of this group.”
The Nuggets will await the winner of the Eastern Conference Finals between the Miami Heat and the Boston Celtics, a series that Miami leads 3-0.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.