Why Nuggets have overwhelming edge in NBA Finals
By Ethan Scott,2023-05-31
Whether the Denver Nuggets drew the Miami Heat or Boston Celtics in the NBA Finals, they were going to have a huge advantage. Their unwavering excellence throughout the playoffs has unquestionably established them as the league's best team.
With All-NBA-caliber players Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray, complemented by a formidable ensemble of role players, Denver presents a huge challenge for any opponent. Following a 53-29 regular season, the Nuggets are 12-3 in the playoffs.
The Joker, a two-time MVP, and Murray are putting up ridiculous numbers in the postseason.
OddsChecker NBA Finals prediction and pick
The Miami Heat and the Denver Nuggets will officially meet for the NBA finals this week. How will this series play out? OddsChecker's Matt McCuen provides a few picks that you should lock in before the series starts.
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Miami Heat: +9 (-110) spread, +310 moneyline, over 219.5 (-106)
@ Denver Nuggets: -9 (+105) spread, -360 moneyline, under 219.5 (-110)
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Jokic is averaging 29.9 points, 13.3 rebounds and 10.3 assists and shooting 53.8 percent from the field and 47.4 percent from three. Murray is averaging 27.7 points, 6.1 assists and 5.5 rebounds on a shooting split of 48/39.8/92.5.
Besides the two superstars, Denver has two other major advantages over Miami: fresh legs and home court. The Nuggets last played on May 22.
Had the Heat — who once owned a 3-0 edge on Boston — dispatched the Celtics earlier in the Eastern Conference Finals instead of in seven games, Miami could have enjoyed a similarly long rest.
Historically, Denver has played much better in the higher altitude (5,280 feet) of Mile High City than on the road.
Per ESPN's Ohm Youngmisuk , "Denver not only owns the most suffocating home-court advantage in the NBA, but no active franchise in history has had more success at home compared to on the road. The altitude isn't a myth."
"Yeah, it's real," Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James said of the altitude in Denver, per ESPN. "You get tired a lot faster."
Former NBA player Richard Jefferson has no doubt who will be holding the championship trophy in June.
Besides The Joker, the Nuggets have a much better roster than the Heat, who entered the playoffs through the back door of the play-in tournament.
Expect a quick series. Nuggets in five.