Good Morning Dub Nation,
The defending champion Golden State Warriors found themselves in an unfamiliar position last night. Under head coach Steve Kerr, the Warriors have made it to at least the NBA Finals every season they were in the playoffs. However, with the team getting eliminated a little over a week ago, they were forced to watch from home as a new king of the Western Conference was crowned. On Monday night, the Denver Nuggets advanced to their first NBA Finals in franchise history after sweeping their series against the Los Angeles Lakers, 4-0.
THE NUGGETS ARE IN THE NBA FINALS FOR THE FIRST TIME IN FRANCHISE HISTORY pic.twitter.com/AjExOCObH8— ESPN (@espn) May 23, 2023
This was a drastically different Denver team than the one eliminated by the Warriors in the first round just a season ago. As the number one seed, they looked unstoppable as they masterfully navigated their way through the West with an offensive rating of 119.7 — the highest of any team in the playoffs.
Two-time MVP Nikola Jokic lived up to his juggernaut reputation, finishing Game 4 with 30 points, 14 rebounds, and 13 assists to cap off the series. It was his eighth triple-double of the playoffs, breaking yet another Wilt Chamberlain record for most triple-doubles in a single postseason.
Jokic messed around and passed Wilt pic.twitter.com/w9ojCEh8a6— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) May 23, 2023
Having said that, the biggest difference for Denver this postseason was point guard Jamal Murray. The Nuggets point guard missed last year’s playoffs while recovering from a torn ACL, but his presence this postseason was the team’s X-factor as his 27.7 points per game was the much needed secondary scoring punch to compliment Jokic and punch their ticket to the NBA Finals.
With their major players under contract for the next couple of years, this Denver team will continue to be a problem that the Warriors must deal with in the West. They are a team that plays with an obvious chemistry, surrounding arguably the best player in the NBA with a supporting cast that fits him to a tee. For years that was the Warriors’ formula for success, so hopefully they can recreate that magic as they enter a critical offseason crossroads.
Here are the rest of today’s stories:
In case you missed it from Golden State of Mind:
- Postmortem mailbag, Part 2
- Kenny Atkinson is a finalist for the Bucks job
- Steve Kerr details Jonathan Kuminga’s path to more playing time next season
- Postmortem mailbag, Part 1
- Kevon Looney reveals secret to rebounding success and favorite Warriors’ memory
Other Warriors News:
- Three questions Warriors will face if Bob Myers leaves as general manager (NBC Sports Bay Area)
- Austin Reaves ‘nowhere near’ Jordan Poole’s skill level, per Austin Rivers (NBC Sports Bay Area)
- Bob Myers meets ‘Mr. Mean’ — his childhood favorite and Warriors cult hero (The Athletic)
- Do Warriors fans want Draymond Green to come back next season? (95.7 The Game)
- 3 prospects the Golden State Warriors should consider with 19th overall pick (Blue Man Hoop)
- Nuggets advance to first NBA Finals after sweeping Lakers; Jokić named WCF MVP (The Athletic)
- Sources: LeBron James Considering Retirement After WCF Exit, 20 NBA Seasons (Bleacher Report)
- The demise of the Celtics + ALL the coaching and free agency latest + NBA Finals talk (Marc Stein)
- Former All-Star Carmelo Anthony announces his retirement (NBA)
- Why Nickelback (yes!) means so much to Jimmy Butler and the Miami Heat’s title run (ESPN)