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Nikola Jokic admits he flopped on collision with Russell Westbrook

Nikola Jokic

The Denver Nuggets fell to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday, but not before a controversial play took place as center Nikola Jokic attempted to set a screen in front of Russell Westbrook, who met him with a shoulder charge that got him to the ground, consequently penalized with a Flagrant 1 foul.

Jokic, a 6-foot-10, 250-pound big man was comically leveled by the 6-foot-3, 200-pound Westbrook during their interaction, and Nuggets head coach Mike Malone saw it as a sign of continuity from last season’s competition.

“You mean the Flagrant 2?” said Malone following the game when asked about the incident. “Oh that’s right, they called it a Flagrant 1, I apologize.”

“That goes back to last game here, that was sending a message and what I’m proud of with Nikola is that he took it, and it didn’t affect him… I think there was a message trying to be sent, and good for them.”

Jokic soon after admitted to flopping during the play, unaware of his coach’s prior words.

The Nuggets centerpiece, known as “The Joker” after his career-best season in 2016-17, played a major joke on the referees, who didn’t hesitate to warn Westbrook for his physical play off the ball, which set the tone for a somewhat low-scoring preseason game.

“You go back to the last game we played them when we were eliminated from the playoffs,” Malone said after Denver’s 96-86 loss, according to Harrison Wind of BSN Denver. “There was some chippiness in that game and to be quite honest, I thought some of that carried over to tonight. And they’re a physical team.”

Malik Beasley, Russell Westbrook

Sue Ogrocki/The Associated Press

“Steven Adams is a physical guy and they’re going to try and come at you, see if they can punk you and we have to stand our ground and let them know, not us, different team. And we’re going to go right back at you and do it in the appropriate manner within the rules obviously. That’s something that we’re going to have to handle. We have a very talented and deep team but we also have to learn to bring a toughness every single night we step on the floor.”

Needless to say, Jokic will take every chance presented to him when it comes to his team getting an edge in the game and now it will be up to Westbrook and his teammates to watch for future flops during their next encounter.