The Denver Nuggets had stayed up far too late. The Golden State Warriors possessed the stamina necessary to pull off an all-nighter. The Nuggets appeared to be in trouble—down five points with less than a minute remaining. Then, with four Warriors encircling him, Nikola Jokic of the Nuggets fired up one more jumper to trim the lead to three.
This small dance may have continued indefinitely. The Warriors could have partied all night. Jokic and the Nuggets might have continued to compete by refusing to return home. Except it didn’t.
Steph Curry raced all over the court in the next possession, changing direction and speed until he found himself open for a layup, and Jokic–plagued by foul trouble–could only watch. Curry removed the mouthpiece, clasped his hands in the shape of a pillow, and leaned his head in the direction of a sleeping gesture. Indeed, a good night.
The Warriors progressed to the second round by defeating the Nuggets four games to one, but not without collecting a few bruises. The Warriors’ version of a chief marshal, Draymond Green, received its brunt. He imposes with defending Jokic (before Klay Thompson asks for a box-and-one D), which seems like an oxymoron. How do you protect an indefensible position?
Consider Jokic’s series statistics: 31.0-point performance, 13.2-rebound performance, and 5.8-assist performance.
He accomplished so while being regularly face-guarded and bashed up by Green in the first few games and then Thompson in the closing stages. When Game 5 concluded, Green had to inform Jokic:
“I appreciate you making me better.”
That has to be the most enduring imprint left by a highly skilled — and not soft — athlete like Jokic. Without a doubt, his playmaking ability enables his teammates to be their best selves. That he can improve his defenders (one of whom is a past Defensive Player of the Year) is remarkable. Almost mythical.
Being legendary is a term bandied about casually in basketball discussions which you can also check out OKBET. But it may be the most accurate descriptor given what Jokic has accomplished for the Nuggets this season. Bettors can wager on their favorite team or players we recommend OKBET sportsbook.
Without their second and third-leading scorers, Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr., the Nuggets battled to 48 victories. That was enough to earn the Western Conference’s sixth seed. They were escorted there by Jokic.
Jokic averaged 33.5 minutes per game in 74 appearances. He was the team’s leading scorer, rebounder, and assist provider per game. Please take a look at any Nuggets highlight video from this season, and you’re guaranteed to see Jokic’s fingerprints all over it, even those from his bench, screaming out the play the opposing team will execute. Aaron Gordon improved with his 7.9 assists per game. Monte Morris, Will Barton, and Bones Hyland all received free jumpers due to these passes. It breathed new life into Jeff Green.