Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets
#15 Nikola Jokic of the Denver Nuggets looks to pass against #3 Anthony Davis of the Los Angeles Lakers. ESPN Stats & Info/Twitter


  • The Denver Nuggets swept the Los Angeles Lakers for their first-ever Western Conference title
  • Head coach Mike Malone made it known that the entire team wants more than that
  • The Nuggets are likely to face the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals

The Denver Nuggets find themselves atop the Western Conference for the first time in franchise history after sweeping the Los Angeles Lakers, but head coach Mike Malone wants more.

During his postgame press conference, the former assistant coach for franchises like the New York Knicks and Golden State Warriors made it clear that he and his wards are dead set on winning the NBA title.

"I think it starts with a belief in themselves, but probably more importantly, in the collective – the man next to them. I've seen that belief all year long... To beat this team (Lakers) in the Western Conference Finals, to get the first sweep in franchise history, to get the first Western Conference Championship in franchise history, it means a lot," Malone stated.

"But I speak for 17 players in that locker room and the entire organization: we're not satisfied. We're gonna enjoy it for a moment and I think it's gonna be a hell of a plane ride home, but we got a lot of work to do."

When Jamal Murray went down with an ACL tear ahead of the 2021 playoffs, many observers were quick to count them out since suffering that type of injury can be devastating for a guard like him who relies heavily on his speed and athleticism.

Combined with Nikola Jokic maintaining his MVP-caliber level of play, however, Murray and the Nuggets breathed new life into the franchise and would soon find themselves dominating the NBA landscape under Malone's guidance.

Malone had the Nuggets romping through the league for the better part of the 82-game regular season, which culminated in them logging a record of 53-29 and allowed them to secure the top seed in the conference–also for the first time in franchise history.

Only the revamped Lakers, who dealt Russell Westbrook and Kendrick Nunn for some much-needed bench depth, stood in their way from dominating the West entirely.

After routing the Lakers in Game 1, it was Murray's astounding play in Game 2 that helped secure them a 2-0 lead to put even more pressure on the LeBron James and Anthony Davis-led squad entering Games 3 and 4.

They were able to bring the fight to the Nuggets on their home floor in both games, but they just did not have enough in the tank to compete down the stretch and would soon find themselves being swept despite an all-time performance from James who had 40 points in Game 4, 31 of which came in the first half.

The 2022-23 NBA season has been rife with a handful of firsts for the Nuggets and the only thing that would make the season even more sweet for the franchise is a first-ever NBA title.

They now await the winner of the East and if Game 3 is anything to go by, the improbable eighth-seeded Miami Heat will be their dance partner in the final handful of games of the 2022-23 NBA season.

Denver Nuggets, Jamal Murray, Nikola Jokic
#27 Jamal Murray and #15 Nikola Jokic of the Denver Nuggets. BetMGM/Twitter