Michael Malone: ‘It is hard to rely solely upon Nikola Jokic’

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Fair or not, the backlash of criticism by NBA talking heads is going to be brutal. But truth be told, the lopsided nature of this series actually reveals why Jokic deserves to be the MVP. Without Joker, this current crew of Nuggets would have trouble beating any team in the league. “It is hard to rely solely upon Nikola Jokic,” Malone said.
Source: Mark Kiszla @ Denver Post

What’s the buzz on Twitter?

Eurohoops @Eurohoopsnet
Nikola Jokic says the series vs. Warriors “is not over”
“As long as we put the effort like we did today, we are going to be fine”
eurohoops.net/en/nba-news/13…6:19 AM

Ohm Youngmisuk @NotoriousOHM
Nikola Jokic played like an MVP. Aaron Gordon appeared and Nuggets led late only to be on the brink of a sweep again. Malone: “What time do we play Sunday? It is going to be ‘Sky rockets in flight. Afternoon delight’…we are going to be here for the fight” espn.com/nba/story/_/id…4:40 AM

TJ McBride @TJMcBrideNBA
Jokic said that Draymond is the “brain” of the Warriors team and that is about as on the money as it gets. – 2:09 AM

Harrison Wind @HarrisonWind
Nuggets playoff scoring leaders through 3 games:
1. Nikola Jokic – 88 points
2. Will Barton – 49 points
3. Aaron Gordon – 33 points – 1:47 AM

Anthony Slater @anthonyVslater
Draymond Green details his clutch steal on Nikola Jokic in the closing minute pic.twitter.com/9ufRaVGiBW1:31 AM

Kerith Burke @KerithBurke
Klay enjoyed Draymond stripping Jokic late in the game when he was playing with five fouls. Amazing hands and impeccable timing, Klay said about Draymond. “Best defender in the world.” – 1:25 AM

Mark Haynes @markhaynesnba
Steve Kerr: “For Draymond to battle him (Jokic) all night, and to make that play at the end was just a huge part of the win.” – 1:10 AM

Ric Bucher @RicBucher
For a player as fundamentally sound as the Joker, I’m at a loss as to why he hasn’t dropped his hips to widen his base on post ups. Naturally lowers his dribble & creates space, all of which prevents getting picked. No way Draymond should reach the ball without fouling him. – 1:07 AM

Adam Mares @Adam_Mares
Stop doom scrolling. Turn off twitter and come join us in the Loser’s Lounge. It’ll be better for your mental health.
✅ Jokic figured some things out
✅ AG battled through
✅ Nuggets down 0-3
youtube.com/watch?v=Ef1j9j…1:06 AM

Rob Perez @WorldWideWob
Radio Roulette is LIVE @UnderdogFantasy
– Death Star Warriors are back
– Jokic vs. The World
– A serious conversation about the Utah Jazz
Grizzlies are in Minnesota now, twice.
– The story of me getting catfished on Bumble today
…& more!
Join us! ⬇️
youtube.com/watch?v=0jKYSf…12:58 AM

Marc J. Spears @MarcJSpears
Warriors forward Draymond Green joined LeBron James, Magic Johnson, Jason Kidd and Larry Bird as the only players in postseason history with 200 steals and 10 triple-doubles. Both of Green’s steals tonight against Denver were turnovers for Nikola Jokic. pic.twitter.com/KNwDjmSTO212:54 AM

Monte Poole @MontePooleNBCS
‘When the money is on the line, I don’t like it when people go at me for all the marbles. I hate that.’
– Warriors F/C Draymond Green, whose late steal off Nikola Jokic capped the Game 3 win at Denver. – 12:53 AM

StatMuse @statmuse
Nikola Jokic tonight:
37 PTS
18 REB
5 AST
3 STL
14-22 FG
There’s only so much one man can do. pic.twitter.com/Er3tQ2QfnQ12:52 AM

Mike Vorkunov @MikeVorkunov
Nikola Jokic: 37 points, 18 rebounds, 5 assists, and 3 steals.
Only one other players has done that in NBA playoff history and hit all those thresholds in a game: LeBron James, Game 3, 2015 Eastern Conference Finals – 12:51 AM

Marcus Thompson @ThompsonScribe
Surprised Jokic didn’t pull. Had two good looks at a three and swung it to Barton – 12:51 AM

StatMuse @statmuse
Nikola Jokic is one loss away from becoming the first MVP in NBA history to be swept 4-0 in the first round. pic.twitter.com/uQ2MrqZB6D12:50 AM

Ryan Blackburn @NBABlackburn
Final rotations for the Nuggets as they lose 118-113 to the Warriors to drop to 0-3 in the series.
-Joker left it all on the court. Played a fantastic game, just wasn’t enough.
-Steph had 27, Poole had 27, Klay had 26
-Starters were tired at the end, bunch of mental mistakes pic.twitter.com/KKUGqBXTbL12:50 AM

Tom Ziller @teamziller
Why didn’t Jokic shoot that? Why did the Nuggets give up down 5 there? – 12:49 AM

Harrison Wind @HarrisonWind
Nikola Jokic in the Nuggets’ Game 3 loss: 37 points, 18 rebounds, 5 assists.
His last shot attempt came with 2:36 left in the 4th. – 12:49 AM

Anthony Slater @anthonyVslater
Draymond Green, with five fouls, strips Nikola Jokic on an iso post up to seal the game and likely the series pic.twitter.com/Vua0LnefYP12:48 AM

Kevin O’Connor @KevinOConnorNBA
Draymond stripping the ball from Jokic feels like a defining moment of the playoffs. Draymond is all the way back to his prime level, the heartbeat of the team and the best defender in the nba – 12:46 AM

Ky Carlin @Ky_Carlin
Helluva play by Draymond Green, but before that Denver possession, why is it Aaron Gordon and not Nikola Jokic? – 12:46 AM

Marcus Thompson @ThompsonScribe
Draymond, who had his hands full all night with Jokic, comes up with a clutch still in iso against the MVP to essentially seal it
And then Green let the Nuggets know about it – 12:45 AM

J. Michael Falgoust @ThisIsJMichael
Klay Thompson is battling his backside off on those switches vs. Jokic in the post. Directly responsible for 2 tough rebounds in crunch time. Not credited for either. #WarriorsNuggets12:44 AM

Nate Duncan @NateDuncanNBA
Huge part of the game-closing run here for GSW was Wiggins and Klay holding up inside. Wiggins had a great contest on a Jokic fadeaway, Klay a great boxout. – 12:43 AM

Ohm Youngmisuk @NotoriousOHM
If this is how the Nuggets’ season is going to go down to a 3-0 hole, what a way to go down. Aaron Gordon offensive foul spin move on Steph, Will Barton 3 on last two critical possessions. Got to go down with ball going through Jokic at least. – 12:43 AM

Nate Duncan @NateDuncanNBA
Jokic left the nail on Thompson so Barton could iso Green? – 12:42 AM

Anthony Slater @anthonyVslater
Massive sequence from Andrew Wiggins, who hadn’t had a great night. Hits a go-ahead corner 3, gets a stop on Jokic in the post and then hustles for an offensive rebound that sets up the Poole layup. – 12:40 AM

Law Murray @LawMurrayTheNU
Wiggins with a corner 3, then a stop in the paint on Jokic, then an offensive rebound that led to Poole acrobatics – 12:40 AM

Rob Perez @WorldWideWob
Jokic euro-stepping through the defense like a wounded gazelle trying to get to the watering hole before the hyenas find him. – 12:39 AM

Connor Letourneau @Con_Chron
Warriors have had no answer tonight for Jokic, who has 37 points on 14-for-21 shooting (2-for-3 from 3-point range), 16 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 steals. Looney has been a total non-factor, and Green is up to 5 fouls. – 12:37 AM

Ohm Youngmisuk @NotoriousOHM
Nikola Jokic is expending all the energy he’s got. He sprinted out for a closeout on Andrew Wiggins’ missed 3, then comes down on other end, pump fakes a 3 before driving in for a layup. MVP has 37 points, 16 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 steals. – 12:37 AM

Michael Singer @msinger
Joker’s up to 37 points … and 11 in the fourth quarter.
#Nuggets have a slight lead with, essentially, their season on the line. – 12:36 AM

Law Murray @LawMurrayTheNU
Jokic discovering that Dray will bite on the pump fake from 20+ feet out… – 12:36 AM

Ryan Blackburn @NBABlackburn
Joker is everything. Love how the team has responded today.
BELIEF! – 12:35 AM

Harrison Wind @HarrisonWind
Nikola Jokic hitting two 3s tonight changed everything. – 12:35 AM

Anthony Slater @anthonyVslater
Five fouls on Draymond Green and still four minutes left of guarding Nikola Jokic. Him getting/avoiding his 6th could determine the game. – 12:34 AM

Law Murray @LawMurrayTheNU
Jokic survived Curry there – 12:31 AM

Nate Duncan @NateDuncanNBA
Jokic hitting those two threes opening up a lot here. Green had to close out harder and he could drive for the foul. – 12:30 AM

Mark Haynes @markhaynesnba
The winner of the battle between Draymond Green and Nikola Jokic in this final 6 minutes will win the game. – 12:26 AM

Bill Herenda @billherenda
Good offensive possession by #Nuggets — GS doubles Jokic guarded by Bjelica in midpost & ball moves to Gordon in second side corner for a 3 – 12:21 AM

Rob Perez @WorldWideWob
Nuggets -8 in those ~3 minutes they tried to steal resting Jokic. – 12:19 AM

Gordon Gross @GMoneyNuggs
Fouls are fine. Fouls slow the game down and buy Jokic more rest time early in the quarter. – 12:17 AM

Ohm Youngmisuk @NotoriousOHM
Nuggets offense off to a sluggish start to the fourth with the reserves. Malone sends Joker, Gordon and Morris back in with 8:57 left and the season on the line. – 12:17 AM

TJ McBride @TJMcBrideNBA
Jokic is back at the 8:57 mark of the 4th. – 12:17 AM

Michael Singer @msinger
Fourth quarter of a must-win game and Jokic is going with the casual leg rest. pic.twitter.com/PyjOmEEfIk12:14 AM

Matthew Tynan @Matthew_Tynan
Jokic on bench, danger minutes. – 12:11 AM

TJ McBride @TJMcBrideNBA
I would be surprised if Jokic is sitting past the 8 minute mark of the 4th quarter. This is the game you empty the clip for. – 12:10 AM

Ohm Youngmisuk @NotoriousOHM
Nikola Jokic has played 29 minutes through three quarters. He just went to bench for a breather with 34.9 seconds left in third. Not sure how long Malone can live without Jokic on floor to start fourth. – 12:07 AM

Mike Vorkunov @MikeVorkunov
Nikola Jokic has 26 points, 16 rebounds, and 5 assists through 3 quarters — just about his season averages. The next quarter will determine whether he gets to keep his MVP. – 12:07 AM

Law Murray @LawMurrayTheNU
Jokic outrebounded Warriors 8-4 in that third quarter – 12:07 AM

Gordon Gross @GMoneyNuggs
Jokic comes out with 26 / 16 / 5 in 3 quarters. I know he’s tired. Malone can give him like 3 game minutes. I swear, if Jokic is on the bench for half the final quarter of a must-win… – 12:06 AM

TJ McBride @TJMcBrideNBA
Barton, Morris and Gordon have 34 points on 14-29 shooting and that has litterally been the differnce between a blowout and Denver being in the game.
It is amazing how just a little bit of help for Jokic can entirely change how the Nuggets play. – 12:05 AM

Monte Poole @MontePooleNBCS
Joker is dragging. Can Warriors take advantage? – 12:02 AM

Mark Haynes @markhaynesnba
Every NBA team passed on Nikola Jokic and Draymond Green at least once, some skipped them twice. They both were drafted in the second round. – 11:55 PM

Duvalier Johnson @DuvalierJohnson
Jokic picks up the foul on a Draymond drive and then Aaron Gordon gets a technical.
All of a sudden Golden State has a chance to tie or take the lead in the 3rd. – 11:53 PM

Michael Singer @msinger
AG gets a tech after Joker’s foul on Draymond. Joker the embodiment of 🤷‍♂️. – 11:52 PM

Michael Singer @msinger
Will never forget Draymond calling Joker’s Sombor Shuffle that “right-footed joint.” – 11:48 PM

Duvalier Johnson @DuvalierJohnson
Less than stellar end to the half has Denver down 69-59 at the break.
Nuggets let GSW knock down 12 3-pointers in the half & Payton II has 11 pts.
Jokic is leading the way with 18 points & 8 rebs. Cousins has 9 off the bench.
If you’re Malone, what’s the message to the team? – 11:21 PM

Michael Singer @msinger
What was a 12-point game two minutes ago is now just a six-point margin. Contributions coming from Austin, AG and Will to support Joker, who’s sitting on 16 points and 8 boards. Denver appears to have weathered the 3-point shooting spree. – 11:13 PM

TJ McBride @TJMcBrideNBA
There has been a lot of frustration pointed at Barton this series, but he has consistently been the only other offensive player to make an impact other than Jokic. He hasnt always succeeded, but he has done everything he can on offense to give Denver a boost. – 11:10 PM

Mark Haynes @markhaynesnba
Wiggins tried to rise on the Joker. – 11:05 PM

Drew Shiller @DrewShiller
The Warriors are basically playing Jokic off the floor 😂 – 11:02 PM

Anthony Slater @anthonyVslater
Nuggets actively sagging way off Gary Payton II. Have Jokic on him right now. But Payton’s made them pay with three first half 3s. – 11:00 PM

Michael Singer @msinger
The Nuggets’ bench unit just got serious production from Boogie (9 points), Bones, J-Myke, Austin and Bryn.
A four-point game and Joker’s back in. All you can ask of them. – 10:58 PM

Law Murray @LawMurrayTheNU
Reggie wanted to see the Nuggets defend the Warriors with Boogie and Joker on the floor together for 60 seconds… pic.twitter.com/J3baRZhiL310:56 PM

Mike Vorkunov @MikeVorkunov
Nuggets are +1 in the non-Jokic minutes. They’re +7 in the Splash in the Poole lineup minutes. But they’re still down 49-45. – 10:55 PM

TJ McBride @TJMcBrideNBA
There was good Boogie for a bit but it started to sour and Malone went straight to Jokic.
Malone is wasting no time tonight. – 10:54 PM

Anthony Slater @anthonyVslater
Aggressive Nikola Jokic goes for 12 points, six rebounds. Warriors’ best lineup loses its two minutes together by seven. Gary Payton II gifts Denver five points with two late quarter fouls. Warriors still up two at the end of the first quarter. – 10:45 PM

Chris Mannix @SIChrisMannix
Excellent start for Jokic. 12 points, six rebounds, 5-7 from the floor, with just one three. Jokic’s three-point shot has been broken since February. He’s got to live in the paint. – 10:43 PM

Michael Singer @msinger
Joker checks out with 12 points (5-of-7 shooting) and 6 rebounds. At every stoppage, Draymond is working the refs trying to tell them that Joker is hooking him. And though the #Nuggets are trying Joker v. Draymond, the refs are letting them play. – 10:39 PM

Harrison Wind @HarrisonWind
Nikola Jokic’s first stint: 12 points (5-7 shooting), 6 rebounds, 1 assist in 11 minutes. Maybe the biggest development: he hit his first 3 of the playoffs. – 10:39 PM

Katy Winge @katywinge
Headband Joker sighting in the stands here at Ball Arena
Nuggets fans, y’all are SHOWING out pic.twitter.com/M9WyQGwJqu10:27 PM

TJ McBride @TJMcBrideNBA
Jokic has to attack Draymond Green while playing small with the Poole Party lineup. That is how you can get Draymond Green in foul trouble. – 10:27 PM

TJ McBride @TJMcBrideNBA
Warriors going to the Poole Party lineup halfway through the 1st quarter.
Jokic needs to dominate this unit and the Nuggets need to communicate on defense. – 10:26 PM

Vinny Benedetto @VBenedetto
Golden State’s on a 10-2 run since Nikola Jokic opened the scoring on Denver’s first possession. – 10:19 PM

TJ McBride @TJMcBrideNBA
Jokic let the double come and patiently waited for Poole, who doubled, to bail back to Barton before getting the post up bucket. Good first look. – 10:16 PM

TJ McBride @TJMcBrideNBA
Denver has a lot to fix in Game 3, but not giving away points, being much more physical, and how Jokic attacks the Warriors Poole Party lineup are the main aspects I will be watching. – 10:02 PM

Michael Singer @msinger
No changes to #Nuggets starting lineup: Monte, Will, AG, Jeff Green and Joker. – 9:32 PM

Mike Vorkunov @MikeVorkunov
“We’re in a Pinto,” Nuggets coach Mike Malone said. “They’re in a Maserati.”
He wants Denver to play slower and through Nikola Jokic in Game 3 vs. the Warriors.
“When the runs have happened we try to play fast like them. We can’t match them… We have to slow things down.” – 8:25 PM

Tommy Beer @TommyBeer
So, it’s pretty clear that Steven Adams is more valuable than Jokic, right? – 8:11 PM

Michael Singer @msinger
Joker starts his warm-up to Big Pimpin’ pic.twitter.com/bcQdvk12C78:06 PM

Mike Mazzeo @MazzNYC
Release: PointsBet announced early payouts for all bettors who placed a wager on Nikola Jokic to be named NBA MVP in NJ and a few other states. You can’t bet on NBA MVP and other individual player awards in NY though state policymakers appear to want to change that down the road – 5:09 PM

Wes Goldberg @wcgoldberg
Spo still seems upset about the Jokic shove to Markieff.
“Only a one-game suspension for that and [Markieff] had to miss months of time? It makes no sense.” pic.twitter.com/8qKoUU0yfr2:29 PM

Barry Jackson @flasportsbuzz
Heat appreciates how Oladipo and Morris have handled not playing. As Spo noted today in discussing this – and he’s totally right – “There’s only a one game suspension for that [the Jokic hit] and he had to miss months of time. It makes no sense.”Methinks NBA needs to address that – 2:09 PM

Chris Sheridan @sheridanhoops
There are a few very nice wagering opportunities tonight in the #NBA playoffs, especially if you believe Draymond Green of #Warriors is inside Nikola Jokic’ head. usblog.betway.com/nba/nba-playof…12:38 PM

Stephen Noh @StephNoh
The job that Draymond Green has done defensively on Nikola Jokic in this series has been outstanding. NBA tracking data has Jokic shooting 9-of-28 with Green as the primary defender. pic.twitter.com/L5VG5VsEtW11:17 AM

Justin Kubatko @jkubatko
Giannis Antetokounmpo last night:
✅ 33 PTS
✅ 18 REB
✅ 9 AST
It’s the 11th time he’s recorded at least 30p/10r/5a in a playoff game.
Only one active player has more such games:
48 – LeBron James
11 – Antetokounmpo
11 – Russell Westbrook
9 – Kevin Durant
7 – Nikola Jokic pic.twitter.com/g6XF3wXeeX9:21 AM

More on this storyline

Katy Winge: Coach Malone on the Barton/Boogie altercation: “That was out of our system before we got on the plane.” -via Twitter @katywinge / April 20, 2022

Mike Singer: Will on the DeMarcus spat: “Just some goofy shit that I can’t entertain.” -via Twitter @msinger / April 19, 2022

Harrison Wind: Michael Malone on the Will Barton-DeMarcus Cousins dustup on the Nuggets’ bench: “No one wants to get embarrassed. No one wants to get their ass kicked on national TV.” “I think it’s just frustration.” -via Twitter @HarrisonWind / April 19, 2022