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Denver Nuggets secure spot in NBA Western finals

Posted May. 13, 2023 07:40,   

Updated May. 13, 2023 07:40


The Denver Nuggets have emerged as the first team to secure a berth in the NBA Conference Finals this season.

The Nuggets clinched a decisive 125-100 victory on Friday over the Phoenix Suns in Game 6 of the second round of the 2022-2023 NBA Western Conference Playoffs. Boasting a series record of four wins against two losses, the Nuggets have successfully made their first appearance in the conference finals in three years, dating back to the 2019-2020 season. This triumphant win has also allowed Denver to rectify their disappointing defeat two years ago, when they were swept by Phoenix in the second round of the playoffs, recording four defeats against them in a row. The Nuggets now await the winner of the LA Lakers-Golden State series to challenge for a place in the NBA Finals, with the Lakers currently holding the upper hand, 3-2.

Nikola Jokic, affectionately known as the 'Serbian Sensation,’ was instrumental in Denver's advance to the conference finals with a stellar triple-double performance. The towering 211-centimeter-tall center chalked up a game-high 32 points, coupled with 10 rebounds and 12 assists. Jokic also nabbed 3 steals, the most in the game from both sides. Across the first and second rounds of the playoffs, Jokic has been averaging an impressive 30.7 points, 12.8 rebounds, and 9.7 assists per game. His regular-season performance was equally noteworthy, with an average of 9.8 assists per game, placing him third in the league. The unique distinction of being the only non-guard player in the top 10 has earned him the moniker 'Point Center.'

Meanwhile, the Phoenix Suns, vying for their maiden NBA Finals victory, were eliminated in the second round of the playoffs for the second consecutive year. The Suns, whose 213-centimeter-tall center Deandre Ayton was sidelined in Game 6 due to a rib injury, could not contain the formidable Jokic in the paint.

Bae-Jung Kim wanted@donga.com