Nikola Jokic had a monster 53-point double-double in the Denver Nuggets' Game 4 loss to the Phoenix Suns, but that didn't stop the haters from clowning him for his lack of clutch gene in the contest.
Jokic had a couple of key errors late in the fourth quarter that sealed Phoenix's 129-124 victory. With the Nuggets trailing by just three points (123-120) with 22.8 seconds left, Jokic turned the ball over and allowed the Suns to extend their lead. Then a few seconds later, he missed a wide-open layup that would have put cut the lead back to three.
Jokic can’t finish the layup and it looks the Suns have officially tied the series 2-2! pic.twitter.com/FGXtn3frgx
— Isaias Jackson Jr (@IsaiasJacksonJ1) May 8, 2023
The Serbian juggernaut finished with 53 points, four rebounds, 11 assists and one block in the game. Nonetheless, it was his late-game failures that many remembered. A lot of critics couldn't help but question his ability to come up in the clutch despite putting up big numbers. Some also compared him to Joel Embiid.
“51/4/10 for Jokic … still dont mean much since it happened in a loss right? Or is that just a rule when 21 in Philadelphia does it?” a Twitter user commented, referring to Embiid.
Another critic said, “Joel Embiid: game winning clutch assist. Nikola Jokic: game losing turnover and missed shot.”
Here are more negative reactions to Jokic's Game 4 showing:
Nikola Jokic in the clutch pic.twitter.com/yX58MiyCMg
— ☄️✨𝖜𝖎𝖟𝖆𝖗𝖉𝖘𝖊𝖗𝖎𝖊𝖘✨☄️ (like limited) (@wizardseries) May 8, 2023
Nikola Jokic when it’s clutch time pic.twitter.com/0lbDIWnBNG
— 𝙌𝙪𝙤𝙧𝙖𝙏𝙝𝙚2𝙣𝙙 (@ShiniLOCKEDGami) May 8, 2023
“Mr. Jokic what did you think about that wide open missed layup?”
— Stifle-Tower27 🇫🇷 (@Stifle_Tower27) May 8, 2023
For what it's worth, there are others who came to the defense of Nikola Jokic. NBA legend Magic Johnson heaped praised on him, while another expressed dismay on the slander he's receiving.
“Denver Nuggets superstar Nikola Jokic had an amazing performance even in defeat scoring 53 points and 10 assists. What can I say…he’s just a bad, bad man!” Johnson wrote on Twitter.
“Jokic slander after dropping 51 is crazy,” another commenter said.
As many have said, it's unfair to criticize Jokic since basketball is a team sport. He did everything he can, but in the end, he didn't get that much help as well. Hopefully, though, Jokic can silence his haters with his play come Game 5.