All four California NBA basketball teams made it to the post-season this year, turning in some impressive performances. Unfortunately, not one of them made it to the Finals as the Denver Nuggets swept through and won their first Championship title after almost five decades of struggle.
The number one-seeded Denver Nuggets represented the West in the Championship against the number eight seed from the East — the Miami Heat. The Finals featured two of the best players in the West, Nakola Jokic and Jamal Murray, sparring with two of the East’s best players, Jimmy Butler and Bam Adabeyo.
However, it was Denver player Aaron Gordon who gave the unstoppable Nuggets’ duo the help they needed to grab victory in the series over the Heat in game 5.
It took 47 years for the Nuggets to get a Championship, the first in its franchise history. The team celebrated after the victory on the court with their family and friends.
Jokic received the Finals’ MVP trophy, but it was all the starters and the bench players who collectively put in the work to get the wins. Jokic was quick to acknowledge his teammates, leaving the MVP trophy at the podium for the team to share.
Re-Cap: Before Denver won the West and the Finals, it was the Los Angeles Lakers who claimed the California crown over the defending champs, the Golden State Warriors.
When the Lakers and Warriors met up in the recent past, it was the Warriors who came out on top when it mattered. But this season Lebron James and Anthony Davis were not going to allow the defending champs from Northern Cali to rob them of the opportunity to advance to the Western conference finals. The Lakers wore the champs down with a relentless effort to win in seven games.
Before the Warriors fell to the Lakers, they had some stiff competition when they were challenged by the upstart Sacramento Kings. The Kings had not made it to the playoffs in almost 18 years, and their young group of talented players gave the Warriors a run for their money. The series went all the way to game seven where the Warriors earned an upset victory over the Kings in Sacramento.
The final California team, the LA Clippers, were knocked out in the first round by the Phoenix Suns real quick in an underreported series that went by like a blur.
Of course, after earning the California crown, the Lakers got swept by the Denver Nuggets. In that series, Jokic and Murry put up historic numbers, breaking post-season records for the most triples and doubles stats.
Wrap Up: As a die-hard Warriors and overall team California fan, I must tip my hat to a team from the West who has now proven they are high-ranking squad ready and able to compete at the top of the game with the big dawgs — congrats Denver!