If Nikola Jokic scores more than 40 points in an NBA playoff game, i Denver Nuggets they lose it.
The curious statistic was also confirmed in Game 2 of the Finals against the Miami Heat: 41 points scored for the Serbian phenom, 108-111 victory of the opponents.
It had already happened three other times, the first in the opening round of 2019 with the San Antonio Spurs: Nuggets ko 120-103 despite Jokic’s 43 and forced to game 7, then won. The other two occasions this year: game 4 of the first round with Minnesota (lost 114-118 with another 43 by the Serbian) and the same challenge in the second, against the Phoenix Suns, winning 129-124 despite Jokic putting up as many as 53.
There are, however, other crazy records already set by Jokic after two Finals games. He has scored 68 points overall, only Michael Jordan (69 in 1991) and Allen Iverson (71 in 2001) had done better in the initial two challenges.
In a single edition of the Playoffs there were only two other players capable of scoring 500 points with 200 rebounds and 150 assists: Larry Bird in 1987 and LeBron James three times.
Among the centers, however, no one had ever scored 500 points and dished out 100 assists in a single post season. And since 1999, Tim Duncan era, there had not been a player capable of a 25+10 double-double in the first two Finals games.. And only three other big men can boast a 40+10 Finals run, and Jokic is the first not to do so while wearing the Lakers’ jersey, the predecessors being Shaquille O’Neal, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Wilt Chamberlan.
Centers with a 40/10 Finals game:
– Nikola Jokic
The first non-Laker to reach the mark. pic.twitter.com/X0334vX0bI
– StatMuse (@statmuse) June 5, 2023
All this, however, was not enough to defend the home court factor from the Miami Heat, who snatched a match in Colorado. Quite a feat, considering Jokic’s performance and that Denver had not lost at home since March.