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Nikola Jokić Thrills NBA Fans as Nuggets Take Series Lead vs. Anthony Edwards, Wolves | News, Scores, Highlights, Stats, and Rumors

Written by on May 15, 2024

Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images

Nikola Jokić received his MVP on Tuesday and then reminded everyone why he won it.

The Denver Nuggets big man led his team to a 112-97 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves in Game 5 of their second-round playoff series at Ball Arena. Denver now leads the series 3-2 following its third straight win, which Jokić spearheaded with 40 points, 13 assists, seven rebounds, two steals and one block.

While it seemed like a one-man show for extended stretches, Aaron Gordon (18 points, 10 rebounds and five assists) and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (16 points, five rebounds and four assists) also played well in supporting roles.

Denver’s defense also held Anthony Edwards to just 5-of-15 shooting from the field and made him work for his 18 points and nine assists. Karl-Anthony Towns did what he could for a Minnesota team playing without Mike Conley (Achilles) with 23 points, six rebounds, four assists and two steals, but it wasn’t enough to counter Jokić.

And social media recognized it was Jokić who made the difference:

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

Joker when he sees Gobert guarding him pic.twitter.com/HvjTFx8JHz

Russillo @ryenarussillo

It’s inconceivable that guys that played in the NBA think anyone is better than Jokic.

Alex Kirshner @alex_kirshner

Feels like you could watch basketball for all of 10 minutes in your life, conclude that Jokic is currently playing his position at the highest level of anyone for the last 100 years and the next 100, and be right. There is just no way it gets better

StatMuse @statmuse

Brother, I have 40 pic.twitter.com/4eNGZE81xY

Shea Serrano @SheaSerrano

i absolutely LOVE watching the joker play basketball — just a completely unique game — he plays basketball like if a buffalo was really good at ice skating

Robby Kalland @RKalland

what jokic is doing to rudy shouldn’t be allowed on television

Molly Morrison @mollyhannahm

i could watch jokić be nonchalantly incomparable forever

ian karmel @IanKarmel

I’m pretty sure Jokic could play the entire game while eating one of those big turkey legs from Disneyland and not lose anything in his game.

claire de lune @ClaireMPLS

jokic has eyes in the back of his head i will never be convinced otherwise

Bill DiFilippo @billdifilippo

nothing in the nba is better than when jokic is feeling it

brittrobson @brittrobson

Jokic is just amazing. Not sure there has ever been a better passer

Scott Tobias @scott_tobias

The entire NBA season may boil down to the simple fact that nobody can do anything about Jokic.

Kyle Neubeck @KyleNeubeck

Every time Jokić looks at Gobert tonight pic.twitter.com/cP3Z6mKZy8

claire de lune @ClaireMPLS

of all the impressive games (there have been many) this might be the most impressive game of jokic’s career. i am just blown away at what i’m watching

Scott Van Pelt @notthefakeSVP

Sublime. pic.twitter.com/Fyj3cBvTz1

David Aldridge @davidaldridgedc

Ain’t no more words for this dude. pic.twitter.com/6y1ixubwuk

The task was fairly straightforward for the Nuggets on Tuesday: become the first home team to win a game in this series and maintain their momentum they built from two straight wins with their backs against the wall in Minnesota.

Jokić was up for the task out of the gates.

The three-time MVP controlled the entire first half while staking his side to a six-point lead at intermission even while Jamal Murray struggled. Jokić mixed in a three-pointer, unstoppable moves on the block and perfectly placed passes all while he was seemingly unbothered by the size and physicality of Rudy Gobert and Towns.

It was fair to be concerned from Denver’s perspective that it didn’t open a bigger lead during Edwards’ ice-cold start, especially after the Timberwolves took the lead early in the third quarter.

But Jokić made sure there wasn’t much reason for concern.

NBA @NBA

Jokic shows off the footwork in the post for the finish 👣

DEN leads in the 3Q of Game 5 on TNT#NBAPlayoffs presented by Google Pixel pic.twitter.com/r4LIF6vApg

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

JOKER 40 BALL 🔥 pic.twitter.com/olNpOtu3aY

He started toying with Gobert and the Timberwolves as he unleashed no-look passes, unreal footwork in the post and complete control of the game as everything ran through him. Gobert may be a four-time Defensive Player of the Year, but Jokić made him look like a traffic cone over and over as the Nuggets opened up a double-digit lead going into the fourth.

Just for good measure, he ended any chance at a Minnesota comeback with a step-back three over the outstretched arm of Gobert in the final minutes. It only added insult to injury for the Timberwolves and further drove home the reality they couldn’t stop him.

They will need to figure out a way to at least slow him down if they want to preserve their season when the series returns to Minnesota for Thursday’s Game 6.

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