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Troy Renck: Nuggets series has become Nikola Jokic vs. everybody. And Jokic always wins

Troy Renck, The Denver Post on

Published in Basketball

DENVER — Revenge games provide a platform for players to show why they should have won MVP honors. Nikola Jokic staged a revenge game to show why he did win MVP honors.

The premise was that the Minnesota Timberwolves were trying to reconnect in this series after getting skunked twice at home. They exuded confidence, convinced Tuesday would be different.

Then it became Jokic vs. Everybody. Everybody lost. The Nuggets won because he is him. Avs stars Joe Sakic and Patrick Roy delivered multiple titles. Rockies greats Todd Helton and Larry Walker remain forever immortalized in the Hall of Fame. And Alex English could slinky his way to 28 points a night.

But other than John Elway, our Babe Ruth, none of them is a bigger legend than Jokic. Even Timberwolves star Anthony Edwards conceded the obvious, a telling compliment with a knockout game looming.

“He was special. I have to give him his flowers,” Edwards said. “He was that guy.”

The only thing missing from one of the top five performances in his career was Jokic talking like Liam Neeson in his postgame presser about his “particular set of skills.”

 

He schooled Karl-Anthony Towns, worked over Naz Reid, and held a Roast of Rudy. Rudy Gobert owns four defensive player of the year trophies, a testament to his size, strength and length. Jokic turned him into a one-legged air dancer greeting customers at a used car lot, converting eight of nine shots with Gobert as his primary defender.

I cannot fathom how any current or former NBA player can watch Jokic and not believe two things: that he is the best in the world and that this series is over.

Jokic scored 16 points in the third quarter Tuesday. He scored 16 in the fourth quarter in Game 4. The Timberwolves felt like they were frequently in the right position, and it did not matter. When Jokic gets this hot, this aggressive, there’s little the opponent can do. Nothing screams MVP like making the competition feel powerless.

“He was in the zone. I mean a couple of shots I think I actually blocked and the ball went in,” Gobert said. “He put his team on his back in the third quarter. It was definitely one of those stretches that we are going to have to watch the film. I think there are things we should have done better, but there’s also plays he made that I think are tough to overcome.”

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