The moment we’ve been waiting for is here. The 2023 NBA Finals are set, with the Denver Nuggets and the Miami Heat set to battle it out for the ultimate glory. Of course, there’s nothing more important for the basketball community right now.

There are many storylines heading into this series, which start Thursday in Denver. The biggest one revolves around each team’s strength, with many claiming the Nuggets are favorites after comparing their paths to the Finals.

Miami made the postseason as the 8 seed in the East, having made its way from the Play-In. Nikola Jokic and company, on the other hand, finished 1st in the West and swept the Lakers to make it to this round. Even so, head coach Michael Malone believes his team will still need to bring its A-game to succeed.

Michael Malone shows utmost respect for the Heat ahead of the Finals

Well, as I told our team, forget the eight seed stuff,” Malone said, via AP. “They beat Milwaukee 4-1. That team had the most wins in the NBA this year. They beat Boston 4-3 and they were up 3-0, the team with I think the second most wins in the NBA this year.

So, you get to the NBA Finals, it’s not about seeding anymore, and for those who are thinking that this is going to be an easy series, I don’t even know what to say to you people.

This is going to be the biggest challenge of our live. This is the NBA Finals. We’re trying to win the first NBA championship in franchise history, and it’s going to be the hardest thing that we’ve ever done, which is the way it should be.”

The Heat have certainly proven a lot of people wrong this year, so to continue underestimating them could be a huge mistake. But Malone is not doing that, so the Nuggets might be entering this series with the right mindset.