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How often does the Game 1 winner go on to win the NBA Finals?

Denver gave itself a huge statistical advantage on Thursday.

2023 NBA Finals - Game One Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/Getty Images

The Denver Nuggets handled business in Game 1 of the 2023 NBA Finals on Thursday, downing the Miami Heat 104-93. The Western Conference champs were in firm control for most of the evening and as a result, have jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the series.

This is significant for Denver’s title aspirations as the winner of Game 1 has won 53 of the 76 NBA Finals that have been played throughout league history. That equals out to roughly 70% and that bodes well for Nikola Jokic and company. The fact that they were at home gives them an extra boost as teams that have taken Game 1 at home have gone on to hoist the Larry O’Brien Trophy roughly 78% of the time.

However, there is hope for Miami as the two most recent NBA Finals have bucked this trend. In 2021, the Milwaukee Bucks dropped the first two games to the Phoenix Suns before rattling off four straight victories to take the title. And then last year, the Golden State Warriors dropped Game 1 against the Boston Celtics before eventually winning the title in six games.