Nuggets Sweep Lakers to Head to First N.B.A. Finals
Denver dominated in the regular season but still had not been favored to make it to the championship round.
As the Denver Nuggets’ historic celebration began, LeBron James, the Los Angeles Lakers’ star forward, walked off his home court, his face expressionless
On Monday night, the Nuggets stamped out the final gasps from the Lakers, who had kept their season alive for weeks after it was presumed finished.
Even after the final buzzer, some of Denver’s players looked as if they couldn’t believe the series was over and that they had actually done it.
The Nuggets are going to the N.B.A. finals for the first time in franchise history after completing a four-game sweep of the Lakers in the Western Conference finals with a 113-111 win on Monday.
Denver will face the winner of the Eastern Conference finals, in which the Miami Heat have a 3-0 series lead over the Boston Celtics. Game 4 in the East is Tuesday in Miami.
Nuggets center Nikola Jokic was named the most valuable player of the Western Conference finals.
He smiled warmly as he held his trophy and his teammates surrounded him on the court and patted his head. He had 30 points, 14 rebounds and 13 assists on Monday.
“Even when you guard him for one of the best possessions that you think you can guard him, he puts the ball behind his head Larry Bird style and shoots it 50 feet in the air and it goes in,” James said, then he smiled wryly.
“Like he did four or five times this series.” He added, as he took off his hat and tipped it: “So you do like this to him.”
Denver had not been to the N.B.A. finals in its 47 seasons in the league. Now the longest drought belongs to the Sacramento Kings, who have not been since 1951, when they were known as the Rochester Royals.