With their victory against the Los Angeles Lakers on the 23rd of May, it is confirmed that the Denver Nuggets will be featured in the 2023-2024 NBA finals. In the fifty-six years of their existence, this is the first time they will play in the finals. Behind an assisting masterclass by the Joker Nikola Jokic and an equally important scoring outburst from Jamal Murray, the Nuggets have achieved the previously impossible.
Truly a night we will never forget.
WE AIN’T DONE YET, WUGGETS WATION ⚒ pic.twitter.com/H1oy47pSOO
— Denver Nuggets (@nuggets) May 23, 2023
With legendary franchise players such as Alex English, Dikemebe Mutombo, and Carmelo Anthony, it’s hard to believe that this is the Nuggets’ first finals appearance. Denver fans may rejoice now as the combination of their generational talent Nikola Jokic and a stellar supporting cast of players like Aaron Gordon and Michael Porter Jr. means this team has a shot at winning it all.
The Denver Nuggets have won the Western Conference Finals once in their history
Thats it. Just once, and that too that one win came this season. They’ve reached the Western Conference Finals five times now, in 1978, 1985, 2009, 2020, and 2023. The only time they have been able to overcome the opposing team was this year with them sweeping the Lakers in four games.
The Nuggets have historically always been a middle-of-the-pack team and their postseason success reflects this. In recent years they have emerged as one of the best teams in the NBA regularly finishing within the three seed and clinching a playoff berth.
In 1978 The Nuggets were defeated four games to two by the Seattle Supersonics. The consistent scoring of Fred Brown and the two-way play of Marvin Webster was too much for the Nuggets’ lone star Dan Issel and young David Thompson to handle.
In 1985 the Nuggets lost in five games to the eventual champions, The Los Angeles Lakers. The Showtime Lakers led by Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul Jabbar were easily able to dispatch Alex English’s undermanned Denver squad.
In 2009, the Nuggets had one of their best chances at a Larry O’Brien in franchise history. Their young superstar Carmelo Anthony was performing well in the playoffs and they had great veteran leadership under players like Anthony, Nenê, and Chauncy Billups. Unfortunately, they ran into Kobe Bryant who was on a mission to prove he could win without Shaq on his team. The series was tied at 2-2 but Kobe carried his team to wins in Games 5 & 6.
The Denver Nuggets were a revelation in the bubble. Led by Jamal Murray who had gone nuclear in the first and second rounds they seemed poised to make trouble for LeBron James’ finals dream run. However, the duo of LeBron and Anthony Davis proved too much for the inexperienced Nuggets team and they were eliminated in five games after losing momentum in Game 2 due to an Anthony Davis buzzer-beater.
Finally, we come to the first conference finals in which the Denver Nuggets have triumphed. Coming into the 2023 postseason as the number one seen in the west, they made easy work of the Timberwolves and Suns in the first two rounds.
Nikola Jokic was able to get revenge on the Lakers in the Conference Finals, ultimately sweeping them and catapulting himself and Denver into the finals. Let’s see if it’s the big Serbian’s time to bring the inaugural ring to the Denver Nuggets franchise.