DENVER (AP) Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets were facing a few questions in their first NBA Finals appearance, and their answers came in spectacular fashion.
No, a week and a half off didn't hurt him. And no, the NBA's biggest stage isn't too big either.
Jokic notched a triple-double in his Finals debut, Jamal Murray scored 26 points and the Nuggets had little trouble with the cold-shooting Miami Heat en route to a 104-93 victory in Game 1 on Thursday night.
Murray said, "I think that's the beauty of this team." "We have so many different weapons and so many different looks. You have to protect everyone. ... Free-flowing, and it's so much fun."
The Heat are 3-0 so far in the playoffs, all on the road, but Denver is still unbeaten at home. The winner of Game 1 in the Finals wins the title about 70% of the time.
Nuggets coach Michael Malone said, "That was one of my last messages to the group before our game." "I reminded my group, in case they didn't know, that Miami went to Milwaukee and won Game 1.
They went to the Garden in New York City and won Game 1. They won Game 1 in Boston. So, we didn't want them to come here to control the series on our court."
Jokic was in control. The two-time NBA MVP finished with 27 points, 14 assists and 10 rebounds for the Nuggets, who have waited 47 years to make the Finals and did not disappoint.
"The most important thing is to win a game," Jokic said after his ninth triple-double of this year's playoffs -- his sixth in his last seven games. "I'm trying to win games by any means necessary."