In Game 2 of the NBA Finals, Denver Nuggets superstar Nikola Jokic dropped a series-high 41 points all over the Miami Heat. It resulted in a tough loss for the Nuggets, though, with Miami escaping with a pivotal 111-108 win on Denver's own home floor.
That wasn't the first time the Nuggets lost in spite of a Jokic scoring outburst. As a matter of fact, Denver has gone 0-4 in the NBA Playoffs this season whenever the former back-to-back MVP scores more than 40 points — an anomaly that has become a bit of an unwanted trend for the Western Conference champs.
On Thursday's press conference ahead of Game 4, Jokic was asked to comment on this unusual occurrence and if his scoring outbursts have any direct correlation to the Nuggets losing games:
“I really don’t know, my friend. That’s a good question,” Jokic said. “… When you play the game, sometimes it’s open, sometimes it’s not. Sometimes you shoot, you make, you miss. … I don’t have the answer for you. My bad.”
Reporter: “The Nuggets are 0-4 when you score 40+ in the playoffs, but are 12-5 when you have 10+ assists. Is there any correlation?”
Nikola Jokic: “I really don’t know, my friend. That’s a good question. When you play the game, sometimes it’s open, sometimes it’s not. Sometimes… pic.twitter.com/M88YpPmiy5
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) June 8, 2023
The obvious assessment to make here is that the Nuggets don't need Jokic to be a pure scorer, and that his playmaking is what's more important in terms of what he brings to the table. After all, he was held to a postseason-low four assists in their Game 2 loss to the Heat. Then again, there's much more to this than what's on the surface. There are so many factors to consider before making an all-encompassing statement that the Heat will succeed if they just let Jokic get his buckets.
What cannot be denied, however, is that Jokic has been utterly dominant not only in the NBA Finals, but throughout the playoffs as well — both in scoring and in getting his teammates involved. Right now, he will need to muster up just two more winning performances to achieve their ultimate goal.