On Friday night, in a 108-95 win over the Miami Heat that put them up 3-1 in the NBA Finals and on the brink of winning it all, the Nuggets showed a bit of everything.
A star turn, of course, from Nikola Jokic, who, while not at the highest of the heights we've seen from him, still managed 23 points, 12 rebounds, four assists, three steals and two blocks.
There was the scorching shooting from long distance -- as in 50% -- from the unit wearing road blue. And there was the Nuggets' bench outscoring Miami's, 36-25.
Individually, there was Jamal Murray who was great when he needed to be, regardless of what his stat line read. He steadied the ship for those long minutes in the fourth quarter when Jokic, suddenly riddled with five fouls, sat and watched Miami started to make its move.
There were all the kinds of things -- the grit, the toughness, the perseverance and the help from unexpected places -- you must summon to crown yourself NBA champion.
"We're just ready to win a championship," Murray said after the game. "We have the tools to do it. It's been on our minds for a while. We're just locked in. I don't think you've got to overthink it. We're just dialed in, ready to win."
There was much Denver had to push past. Scott Foster, the NBA official, for one, whose late-game calls seemed for a moment to shift the momentum decidedly toward Miami. The Heat's hellbent focus and intensity, the kind they had promised heading into the game, which translated into a vast improvement on those fronts. Miami narrowed the points in the paint battle to 46-48 and flipped the rebounding battle, which they won, 37-24.
They were vast improvements from Game 3.
"[Coach Erik Spoelstra] definitely made it an emphasis to attack the rim," said Bam Adebayo, "to really get to the rim, me and Jimmy [Butler], everybody included, really get downhill and make things happen."
Still, Denver was too much -- a theme, four games in, that is starting to take shape. This series is not over. Never say never and all that, especially with a resilient team like Miami. But there is a clear gap between what the Nuggets can do and what the Heat can do.
And is Denver ever doing it.
If Game 3 was a case-study in team intensity complemented by Jokic and Murray adding the talent and greatness, this game was different.
Murray was quiet at times, and Jokic was befuddled by those five minutes on the bench with those five fouls. Suddenly, a 13-point fourth quarter lead became five, and the crowd at Miami rocked and swayed. It seemed, for several tense and exhilarating minutes, that another Miami Heat fourth-quarter miracle was in the works.
Murray weathered the storm, running the offense without Jokic. He finished with three of his 12 assists in the fourth, but it was Brown who provided the punch -- posting 11 critical points, many coming off of huge, momentum-killing buckets. Gordon disrupting the action. Even veteran Jeff Green hit a big fourth-quarter three.
It all added up the 108 points on the scoreboard for Denver, a 2-0 sweep in Miami and the very real sense that this might well have been the last NBA basketball South Florida will see live this season.