Nikola Jokic Carries Nuggets To 3-2 Series Lead Over Timberwolves

Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets, Minnesota Timberwolves, NBA
Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Nikola Jokic received his third NBA Most Valuable Player trophy, then put on a show, leading the Denver Nuggets to a 112-97 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves in Game 5 of the Western Conference semifinals.

Jokic exploded for 40 points, 13 assists, and 7 rebounds, dominating the Timberwolves’ defense. “I didn’t see any weaknesses [in our defense],” Minnesota star guard Anthony Edwards said. “I seen the MVP. He showed that he’s the MVP.”

The Nuggets’ superstar center was unstoppable, converting 15 of 22 shots, including 8 of 9 when Rudy Gobert was his primary defender. “I mean, I had the open lane and just — I’m a freak of nature,” Jokic deadpanned of his rare dunks. “And why not show my athleticism.”

NBA NEWS & RUMORS: Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets, Minnesota Timberwolves Updates

Jokic’s teammates were equally impressed, with Aaron Gordon calling his performance “astounding” and “ridiculous.” Jamal Murray added, “It’s amazing how he picks apart and reads the game and trusts his teammates.”

Nuggets coach Michael Malone praised Jokic’s intelligence, saying, “His IQ is off the charts. He probably belongs to Mensa. He probably doesn’t even know what Mensa is.”

The Nuggets now lead the series 3-2 and can advance to the conference finals with a win in Game 6 on Thursday in Minneapolis. Jokic’s MVP caliber performance has led the Nuggets to three straight wins, and he has averaged 33 points, 9.7 assists, and 9.3 rebounds in the three victories, shooting an impressive 61% from the field.

“I think just the love from the crowd that you can feel in teammates, coaches… I think it’s just a moment that I remember my whole life,” Jokic said, reflecting on receiving his MVP trophy before the game.

With the win, the Nuggets are one step closer to the conference finals, and Jokic’s leadership and incredible skill will be crucial in their quest for a championship.

Jokic’s dominance has been a key factor in the Nuggets’ success this season, and his ability to perform under pressure has earned him the respect of his peers. “He’s a special player,” Edwards said. “He’s got a lot of tricks in his bag.”

The Nuggets will look to close out the series in Game 6, and Jokic will likely be the key to their success. “We just need to keep playing together and believing in each other,” Jokic said. “We’ll see what happens.”

The Timberwolves, meanwhile, will need to regroup and find a way to contain Jokic if they want to force a Game 7. “We just need to keep fighting,” Gobert said. “We can’t give up now.”

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