Videos by OutKick
Let’s start with a video of a backward half-court shot by Nuggets mascot, Rocky.
Off a thrilling three rounds of postseason basketball, the Finals series is appearing to be a showcase of the NBA’s unquestioned best player and team this season.
The game was arguably the worst part of Thursday night’s Game 1 of the Finals.
Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets defeated the Miami Heat, 104-93, at Ball Arena.
While the game was a total snoozer, the event did attract a number of familiar faces.
Shaq and the Mannings Share a Good-Hearted Greeting
The highlight of the night came during an interaction between Shaquille O’Neal, Peyton Manning and his son, Marshall.
During the pre-game, Manning caught up with the “Inside the NBA” star.
Shaq gave his respects to the Colts and Broncos legend and warmly greeted Manning’s 12-year-old son with a dap and hug from Big Diesel. Young Manning was also wearing an Allen Iverson Nuggets jersey.
The feds may be on Shaq’s tail, but by all accounts, O’Neal seems to be a good dude.
Dr. Chow In the House
Also making an appearance was “The Hangover” and “Community” legend, Ken Jeong.
Clearly a fan of the Nuggets, Jeong appeared on their social media with a direct video for the team.
“Go Nuggets, congrats,” Jeong said, introducing himself as Mr. Chow.
Denver Broncos Show Support To The Nuggets
Since it was a Denver sporting event, Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson popped in to watch the Nuggets manhandle the Heat.
Russell knows a thing about one-sided battles after a rough season (5-12) in Mile High last season.
New Denver coach Sean Payton also made an appearance.
As For The Game …
Denver’s advantage as the better team all night was clear as day.
The Nuggets scored at will from the paint as the lineup’s length killed the Miami Heat by a thousand cuts.
Guys like Michael Porter, Jr. and Aaron Gordon put up solid outings. Stealing the show was the Mile High tandem of Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murry, combining for 53 points.
Tallying his ninth triple-double in the postseason, Jokic scored 27 points, adding 14 assists and 10 rebounds.
Meanwhile, Miami’s Jimmy Butler disappeared in his fourth game out of the last five.
“Himmy Butler,” the postseason’s MVP up until Miami took a 3-0 lead over the Boston Celtics, logged 13 points, seven rebounds and seven assists. Butler has long carried this Heat team; by now, Jimmy seems too physically defeated to keep up the Herculean performances.
Heat center Bam Adebayo had a slight revival with 26 points and 13 rebounds.
The Nuggets never trailed in the game for more than a minute on Thursday.
As many predicted, Miami played too old and tired while the Nuggets — off a week-and-a-half-long break after sweeping the Lakers — appeared to take full advantage of their time off.
Michael Malone’s team is ready to win this thing. The Nuggets took the 1-0 series lead and return to Ball Arena on Sunday for Game 2.