Nikola Jokic took charge both on the court and in the huddle as the Denver Nuggets were in the midst of the most important stretch of the most significant road game in the organization’s history.
The two-time Most Valuable Player decided to run a two-man, pick-and-roll offense with Jamal Murray late in Game 3 of the Western Conference playoffs on Saturday night. The decision paid off for the Nuggets, as Jokic delivered a 15-point fourth quarter to help the team secure the victory. Additionally, he urged his squad to put their heads down and play strong defense against the Lakers, and as a result, the Nuggets were able to take control of the game on both sides.
Denver’s head coach, Michael Malone, beamed as he praised Assistant Coach Jokic’s performance, saying, “Coach Jokic did a great job tonight.”
Jokic made a face of disgust when he heard his new job title.
He stated, “I don’t want to be a coach,” in his response. “Without a shadow of a doubt, I consider that to be the worst job on the face of the planet.”
Jokic had merely carried out the actions required of him, and this simple fact encapsulates Denver’s performance during the entire season.
Whenever a difficulty presents itself, whether it be during the monotony of a dominant regular season or difficult playoff matchups with the star-studded Suns and Lakers, Jokic and the Nuggets figure out a way to get around, over, or through it to continue making progress toward their objective.
After the Nuggets won Game 3 by a score of 119-108, Murray reiterated that the team is now only five victories away from achieving their objective. If the Nuggets can beat LeBron James and the rest of the struggling Lakers on Monday night, they will have a chance to book their ticket to the NBA Finals for the first time in the franchise’s 47 years of existence in the league.
Murray commented, “We know the next game is going to be another test.” “They are going to present themselves in a more belligerent manner. (Anthony Davis) is going to behave more aggressively. The audience will get more into it because LeBron will be playing a more aggressive style.
Even though this organization has won 15 playoff series, Denver has never swept an opponent. If the Nuggets win Game 4, they will become the first team in franchise history to accomplish this feat.
Because each player on this Nuggets roster is solely concerned with the team’s accomplishments as a whole, it is very evident that this particular iteration of the Nuggets is the most successful in the club’s history. Furthermore, the fact that Denver has won five straight games while also being 11-3 in the postseason removes any doubt about the identity of the club that is the favorite to win the NBA Finals and the top team in a conference that features a lot of strong competition.
Even though Jokic and Murray are both stars on their respective teams, the Nuggets’ supporting cast is what truly sets them apart from the other star-heavy teams in the NBA. According to the coaches and members of this team, individual statistics, amount of playing time, and players’ egos do not seem to be a factor for this bunch.
“I mean, I never doubted my team,” Jokic remarked in his post-game press conference. “We have some talented players who are capable of stepping up at the appropriate moment, and that’s exactly what we did,” the coach said. “
Just don’t tell the Nuggets that they are the odds-on favorites to win the whole thing: they’re not interested in hearing it. Even after winning three Northwest Division titles and six playoff series (and counting) over five consecutive trips in the postseason, they still appear to be fuelled by an underlying bitterness and an inferiority complex about their collective success. This is although they have won all six playoff series they have participated in. Although Denver is the top seed in the Western region, the city believes its achievement is a victory over many doubters and against significant odds.
“We’re the underdogs,” Kentavious Caldwell-Pope of Denver asserted. “We are not given sufficient credit for our work.”
Even during this dominant postseason series, that passion can occasionally come out unexpectedly. Malone, who had previously expressed dissatisfaction with what he perceived to be the narratives of national media outlets, took time away from praising his team after Game 3 to take a shot at Davis and the NBA officials. He claimed that the Lakers big man routinely violates defensive rules by “playing free safety” and “sitting in the paint for eight seconds at a time.” Malone had previously expressed dissatisfaction with what he perceived to be the narratives of national media outlets.
On Sunday, the coach of the Lakers, Darvin Ham, declined to respond to Mike Malone’s criticism of Davis’ defensive play. Instead, he merely stated, “I have a lot of respect for Mike, and his thoughts are his thoughts.” His comments should be taken as seriously as they are offered.
Instead, after getting only two hours of sleep, Ham returned to work and focused on the initial phase of the difficult assignment that Los Angeles needed to do. First, a lengthy video session was held by Los Angeles to fix the errors that have allowed the Nuggets to maintain their command of the series.
Ham remarked, “Guys, we’ve got an opportunity here.” “We’ve got an opportunity.” “Everyone is saying that we don’t stand a chance. This is out of control. It is not any different from the struggles that we have faced during the entire year. It’s an uphill battle, and we’re trying to entrench ourselves and re-establish what this culture is all about within the Laker organization. These are the challenges. I believe that we have accomplished that, and we will have the opportunity to take one more step in the right direction the day after tomorrow.”
The Lakers are in a precarious position following their first three straight losses since the beginning of February. The only source of optimism is that each of the three games was decided by a few points in the last minutes. The Los Angeles Lakers had wonderful opportunities to win twice in Denver, and they even rallied from a 14-point deficit to take the lead early in the fourth quarter in Game 3 before Jokic ran over them. However, Jokic was able to pull away and win the game for the Denver Nuggets.
After suffering their first loss at home in nearly two months, the Los Angeles Lakers find themselves in a position where they must stage a historic comeback to save their season. In the history of the NBA playoffs, none of the 149 teams that ever trailed their opponent in the series by a score of 0-3 managed to win the championship.
“It ain’t over until it’s four games, and that’s the best part about it,” Lonnie Walker stated. “When they have crowns on their heads, kings do not look down. ” It is imperative that you keep that from happening. We haven’t reached the end of this yet. This place is ruled by a whole bunch of kings, including all of us. We are prepared to take our seats and dine. We’re starving.”