NBA Finals 2023: The six things you need to know for this epic series

Can the Heat steal this series from the heavily favored Nuggets? Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

It took a little longer than expected after the Denver Nuggets and Miami Heat both took 3-0 leads in the conference finals, but we now have an NBA Finals matchup, and no matter what happens from here, we're days away from seeing history.

If Miami wins, the Heat will complete arguably the most shocking run in postseason history and become the first 8-seed to win an NBA title. If Denver wins, the Nuggets will take home the first title in franchise history, joining the San Antonio Spurs as the only former ABA teams to win NBA championships.

Before the series tips off Thursday (8:30 p.m. ET on ABC), let's take a look at six notable stats and trends that could come to define the 2023 NBA Finals and determine the league's next champion.

1. Overwhelming odds

Miami is making its seventh Finals appearance since 2006, the most in the NBA in that span (Golden State is next with six). Five of Miami's playoff rotation players -- Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo, Kyle Lowry, Kevin Love and Duncan Robinson -- have previous Finals experience. Despite that, it's the Nuggets -- making their first Finals appearance -- who enter the series as massive favorites.