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Nuggets take home 1st NBA title in rugged 94-89 win over Heat

Nikola Jokic #15 of the Denver Nuggets looks to pass during the second quarter against the Miami Heat in Game Five of the 2023 NBA Finals at Ball Arena on June 12, 2023, in Denver. (Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

DENVER (AP) — Nikola Jokic guided Denver to its first NBA title in team history Monday night, as the Nuggets overcame dreadful shooting and a late flurry from Miami’s Jimmy Butler to squeeze past the Heat for a frantic 94-89 victory in Game 5.

Jokic had 28 points and 16 rebounds for the Nuggets, who missed 20 of their first 22 3-point attempts and seven of their first 13 free throws but figured out how to close out the series on their home floor.

Butler scored eight straight points to help the Heat take an 87-86 lead with 2:45 left after trailing by seven. He made two more free throws with 1:58 remaining to help Miami regain a one-point lead. Then, Bruce Brown got an offensive rebound and tip-in to give the Nuggets the lead for good.

Trailing by three with 15 seconds left, Butler jacked up a 3, but missed it. Brown made two free throws to put the game out of reach and bring the title to Denver for the first time in the franchise’s 47 years in the league.

Butler finished with 21 points for the Heat.