A Recap of the 2023 NBA Finals

The NBA is one of the most competitive basketball leagues in the world and the 2023 season was an especially memorable one.


Pictured is Nikola Jokić, who is the best player in the Denver Nuggets. Jokic together with Murray helped the Denver Nuggets to make it into the NBA finals. (Photo Credit: All-Pro Reels, CC BY-SA 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons)

Every year, at the start of June, two basketball teams begin their match to fight for the renowned Larry O’Brian trophy. This match, known as the NBA finals, is held by one of the top basketball leagues in the world, the National Basketball Association (NBA). It has attracted millions of basketball fans who cheer on their respective teams.

The “Start” of NBA

The league was created between 1946-1956 as the top two leagues at the time, National Basketball League (NBL) and Basketball Association of America (BAA), merged together. 

The league itself also began to expand over the years from eleven basketball teams to a total of thirty teams. Originally known as the NBA Finals trophy, the name of this prestigious prize was changed in 1964 to honor Walter A. Brown, who was the Boston Celtics’s original owner. However in 1984, the trophy was renamed again in honor of NBA commissioner Larry O’Brian.The trophy has kept its name ever since.

How the “NBA Finals” work

Although much has changed since the beginning of the NBA, their finals still follow the same format, only increasing the number of games from the original 60 to 82 games. Similar to any other championships, in order to qualify for the NBA finals, you have to match with different teams in order to be qualified for the championship. The qualification begins in the NBA seasons and continues in a second qualification called the NBA playoffs. 

NBA seasons begin around October and ends in April each year, with a total of around 82 games. During these 82 games, teams compete against  each other in a random order to qualify for the playoffs. The sixteen teams with the most wins will move on to the playoffs. The roster consists of eight teams from the east coast and eight from the west coast. After the NBA season, the teams will start their second round of qualification in the NBA playoffs. 

Playoffs are a bit different from the regular NBA season, as teams have to win four out of seven games in order to move on. The sixteen teams are divided into two different conferences – the eastern conference and the western conference. Within each conference, each team is called a seed; the two seeds with the least amount of wins have to play against each other in a face-off. The losing seed then has to go against the highest ranked team besides the sixteen seeds. Only after that these games will the playoffs commence. 

In the playoffs, there are actually four rounds and one final round, called the NBA finals. The second to last round is called the conference finals instead of semi finals. This year, the Los Angeles Lakers and Denver Nuggets were in the Western Finals while the Miami Heat and Boston Celtics were in the Eastern Finals. After the conference finals, the winners from each conference face head-on. This year, it was a match between the Miami Heat and Denver Nuggets in the NBA finals.

The “Unexpected” Two Teams

The two finale teams, Miami Heat and Denver Nuggets, were not projected to end up at the finals round.   At the beginning of the year or even at the beginning of the playoffs, these two teams were seen as the underdogs, especially Miami Heat. 

When the Denver Nuggets won the western conference, it was a surprise to fans this year, considering their strong competition. Despite the Denver Nuggets being the #1 seed in the Western conference, it was still surprising that they defeated Lebron James and Anthony Davis of the Los Angeles Lakers and that they won all four games. The Lakers have defeated last year’s champions the Golden States Warriors, so they were expecting a clear victory.  However, the Nuggets still overcome these barriers with ease, marking an incredible victory on their part.

If the Denver Nuggets’ victory was a surprise for the fans, then the win for Miami Heat was almost like a miracle. Their victory against the Minneapolis Bucks and Boston Celtics was achieved with strong players like Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jayson Tatum. The former is the number one seed in this year’s Eastern conference, and the Boston Celtics is not only this year’s number two seed, but also last year’s finalist team. The teams have a much greater advantage than the Miami Heat. Herro, the second best player in the Miami Heat, had a fracture in his fingers; the untimely injury severely weakened the team. Compared to these two teams, Miami Heat appeared to be at a disadvantage, yet they still managed to defeat both teams in an unbelievable victory. 

The Most Expected Winner 

The match between the Heat and the Nuggets seemed to end as the scores came to be 1-3 with the Heat being down as of June 11th, 2023. 

This year’s NBA final was interesting, as the Denver Nuggets had a far more powerful team with their main players Jokic and Murray on the court, while Miami Heat was down their second best player. 

The Denver Nuggets eventually won the 2023 NBA Finals by winning the series 4-1, defeating the Miami Heat. For the Denver Nuggets, it was an especially sweet victory, as it represented their first NBA Final win in the history of their team.

The Denver Nuggets eventually won the 2023 NBA Finals by winning the series 4-1, defeating the Miami Heat. For the Denver Nuggets, it was an especially sweet victory, as it represented their first NBA Final win in the history of their team.