Nuggets lead the Wolves 3-2 after Nikola Jokic scores 40 points

Following his third Most Valuable Player award from NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, Nikola Jokic destroyed Rudy Gobert and the Minnesota Timberwolves to celebrate.

Tuesday night at a packed Ball Arena, the Denver Nuggets superstar went off for 40 points, 13 assists, 7 rebounds, and no turnovers in leading Denver to a 112-97 victory in Game 5.

Denver can go to the conference finals with a victory in Game 6 on Thursday at Minneapolis, where they lead the West semifinal series 3-2.

Star guard Anthony Edwards of Minnesota stated, “I didn’t see any weaknesses [in our defense].” “I seen the MVP. He showed that he’s the MVP.”

Jokic, the three-time MVP, was even more impressive than usual when he played against Gobert, the league’s best defender this season and the recent four-time Defensive Player of the Year. Jokic made 15 of his 22 shots, but when Gobert was his main defender, he only made 8 of 9.

Aaron Gordon, a forward for the Nuggets with 18 points, 10 rebounds, and five assists, called it “incredible.” “He played amazing. The three-time MVP just dominated the entire game, in every aspect of it. Astounding. That was ridiculous.”

With a dizzying assortment of spin moves, hook shots, two 3-pointers, and even a few uncommon dunks in transition, the reigning Finals MVP destroyed Gobert and the Wolves.

Jokic said, “I mean I had the open lane and just, I’m a freak of nature,” in reference to his slams. “And why not show my athleticism.”

Jokic’s opponents were reduced to laughing at his incredible performance that night. He made his final 3-pointer against Gobert while shooting alone at the top of the arc. With 3:09 remaining, Jokic hammered a step-back 3. Gobert was all over him. Gobert’s only option was to challenge with a raised arm. Gobert’s arm sank when the Wolves requested a timeout at 14 points, as if he had lost all of his air.

Edwards remarked, “I just laugh,” in response to Jokic’s evening. “That’s all I can do. I can’t be mad, because he’s good, man. I think I said that after Game 1 when we won, and Game 2. He’s the MVP. He’s the best player in the NBA, he showed it the last three games, three games in a row. He did it tonight.”

“He was special tonight,” Edwards continued, despite only managing 18 points and 9 assists. “I got to give him his flowers. I don’t know what we were supposed to do.”

The Nuggets have taken charge of the series after Jokic was voted this season’s MVP on Wednesday. The team has won three straight games. Jokic shot 61% from the field, averaging 33 points, 9.7 assists, and 9.3 rebounds in the three victories.

“After the Nuggets’ humiliating 106-80 loss in Game 2 last Monday, Nikola was named MVP,” Denver coach Michael Malone stated. “And I think the last three games, he has shown everybody why he is arguably one of the best players to play this game.”

Rudy Gobert had managed to win the series before Tuesday, but Nikola Jokic worked out the matchup on Tuesday night.

Jokic was chosen MVP last week, but Silver didn’t present him with the Michael Jordan award until Tuesday night.

By halftime, Jokic had eight assists and nineteen points. But he was surgical in the third quarter. He scored after making 6 of 7 shots.

By halftime, Jokic had eight assists and nineteen points. But he was surgical in the third quarter. He scored 16 points, making 6 of 7 of his attempts. Jokic engineered a 36-21 run in the third quarter to turn a one-point deficit into a 14-point lead, leaving Gobert and the Wolves powerless.

He appeared to have a counter for every move Gobert attempted to slow him down, as he banked and sunk turnaround hook shots.

“I just [head] back on defense when he gets it going and he is throwing up that stupid one-legged, one-armed behind the backboard (shot),” said 16-point Denver guard Jamal Murray. “It is amazing how he picks apart and reads the game and trusts his teammates. Obviously, getting the trophy tonight probably motivated him a little bit.”

Jokic stated that when the two are matched up, he simply wants to have one extra counter than Gobert. Nonetheless, Jokic’s brilliance reaches a higher plane, according to Malone.

“His IQ is off the charts. He probably belongs to Mensa [International],”  Malone added. “He probably doesn’t even know what Mensa is.”

Jokic will never forget this evening, especially how it began—in front of thunderous applause—when he accepted the MVP trophy.

“I think just the love from the crowd that you can feel in teammates, coaches,” Jokic stated. “I think it’s just a moment that I remember my whole life.”

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