Selfless Nikola Jokic says ‘I don’t need to score’ to impact the game for Denver Nuggets
Selfless Nikola Jokic says ‘I don’t need to score’ to affect play for Denver Nuggets as his stunning triple-double led his team to Game 1 victory over Miami Heat in NBA Finals
- Jokic had made a double-double before the first half was over
- He finished the game with 27 points, 10 rebounds and 14 assists in the win
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NBA MVP candidate Nikola Jokic showed a great performance in Game 1 of the NBA Finals after recording a triple-double including double-double in the first half.
Jokic recorded 27 points, 10 rebounds and 14 assists and finished the first half with 10 points and 10 assists.
Six of his first-half assists came during the first quarter of the game as Denver jumped to an early lead.
“Right now the most important thing is to win a game and try to win a game in any way,” Jokic said directly in the aftermath of the game during an interview.
“I don’t have to shoot and I don’t have to score to ‘hit’ (influence) the game and I think I did well today.”
The Nuggets big man was also praised for his Miami, despite just beating them by double digits and controlling the game from start to finish.
Nikola Jokic grabbed a triple-double with 27 points, 10 rebounds and 14 assists
“They fight, they never give up and we just wanted to throw the first punch. The first three rounds they won the first game and that they traveled and played on the road and we didn’t want that to happen. I think we did a good job of keeping that team at 93 points, that’s been done very well,” said Jokic.
Denver head coach Mike Malone made similar statements regarding not allowing the Heat to win Game 1 on the Nuggets home floor.
Aaron Gordon added 16 points and Michael Porter Jr. scored 14 for Denver, which was 34 seconds behind and went on to lead by a whopping 24 points.
Bam Adebayo finished with 26 points and 13 rebounds for Miami, who shot 41% for the game – 33% from 3-point range. Gabe Vincent scored 19, Haywood Highsmith had 18 and Jimmy Butler added 13 for the Heat.
Game 2 is Sunday night in Denver.
Miami opened the fourth quarter with an 11-0 run, cutting an 84-63 deficit to start the final period to 84-74. The Heat actually came within nine on a 3-pointer from Highsmith with 2:34 left, but no closer and there was no doubt.
Nuggets coach Michael Malone gave his team a pop quiz during a shootaround Thursday morning, bombarding them with questions about the game plan and what to do in the most important game in franchise history to date.
They had all the answers then. Had them all while playing too. They were the team with minimal NBA Finals experience, only two players having made it to the title round before, and yet they looked good in front of the home crowd in Game 1.