Denver’s Nikola Jokic embodies the John Wooden saying, “be quick, don’t hurry.”
It was evident in the Nuggets’ Game 2 win against the Clippers to even that series, where Jokic had 26 points on 10-of-17 shooting, he hit four threes, plus had 18 rebounds and four assists. The Jamal Murray/Jokic pick-and-roll was a puzzle the Los Angeles Clippers could not solve. All of it done at Jokic’s own pace. After the game, he was asked about him being patient on the court and The Joker went for the joke, via Mike Singer of the Denver Post.
“I’m patient because I cannot really run fast,” he said. “That’s my only option.”
Let’s just say Jokic is not an explosive athlete by NBA standards. But the Denver Nuggets center is patient, he is unhurried, he’s smart, and he finds his spaces that way.
The Clippers felt after the game they just let Nikola Jokic get comfortable, and then it was all downhill.
“He’s one of the better offensive players in this league, and you know, he got a lot of moves and can shoot it from outside,” Clippers’ big man Ivica Zubac said after the loss. “But you know, I didn’t start out the game right defensively. I allowed them to get the ball easy in the post. I was not physical with him like I’m supposed to…
“Overall, I didn’t do a good job defensively tonight, and you know, I’m going to watch the film and see where I can get better and I’m going to bring it next game.”
It’s not all on Zubac to defend Jokic, he’s too good. It’s a team effort. But if he gets comfortable and puts up 26 and 18 again next game, the Clippers are going to be chasing down the Nuggets in the playoffs.