What a performance from Joker.
Nikola Jokic showed up and anchored the Denver Nuggets offensively in Game 1 tonight, posting 37 points, nine rebounds, six assists, three steals, and two blocks in 41 minutes. With an array of ball fakes, jumpers, rolls to the rim, and trips to the free throw line, Jokic put the Nuggets on his back in the second half tonight. 23 points in the second half after scoring an efficient 14 points in the first half were the biggest difference for Denver, particularly the 15 he scored in the third quarter. At that point, the Nuggets were rolling, and Jokic flourishing is the biggest reason why.
The Portland Trail Blazers were forced to defend Jokic with an injured Enes Kanter for most of the game tonight, and while Kanter scored some easy baskets himself, he was no real match for Jokic. The Blazers left Kanter on an island in the pick and roll/pop for most of the game, and I doubt they do so again.
Jokic proved he has what it takes to punish the Blazer when they don’t send extra help. If they continue to use that philosophy, I expect we at Denver Stiffs will be posting frequent highlights of Jokic’s scoring performances this series. He’s growing into a true superstar for the entire world to see.