Saffron Restaurants reservation NBA Playoffs: Nikola Jokić erupts for 40 points as Denver Nuggets take 3-2 lead over Minnesota Timberwolves

NBA Playoffs: Nikola Jokić erupts for 40 points as Denver Nuggets take 3-2 lead over Minnesota Timberwolves



Newly crowned three-time NBA Most Valuable Player (MVP) Nikola Jokić put on a show on Tuesday and proved why he is the rightful recipient of the award in the Denver Nuggets’ 112-97 playoff victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves.

The Serbian big man, who received his third MVP trophy before the game, registered 40 points, 13 assists – with no turnovers – and seven rebounds, lifting Denver to a 3-2 series lead, its first in this half Western Conference finals.

Jokić’s dissection of Minnesota is all the more impressive because it was against the NBA’s best defense and the league’s recently crowned four-time Defensive Player of the Year, Rudy Gobert.

Jokić’s performance was so good that both teammates and opponents showered him with praise after the match.

Nuggets forward Aaron Gordon called Jokić’s performance “incredible”.

“He played great,” he told reporters, according to ESPN. “The three-time MVP just dominated the entire game, in every aspect of it. Astonishing. That was ridiculous.”

Minnesota’s rising superstar Anthony Edwards said he “didn’t see any weaknesses” in the team’s defense, but Jokić “showed he is the MVP.”

“I just laugh,” Edwards said. ‘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 is the best player in the NBA, he has shown that in the last three games, three games in a row. He did it tonight.

“He was special tonight. I have to give him his flowers. I don’t know what we were supposed to do.”

Gordon contributed with 18 points, 10 rebounds and five assists, but it was a quieter night for Jokić’s running mate Jamal Murray, who scored 16 points and four assists in the win.

For the Timberwolves, Karl-Anthony Towns scored a team-high 23 points with six rebounds and four assists, while Edwards was held to just 18 points on 5-for-15 shooting.

Jokić showed why he is the MVP.

After losing the first two games in the series at home, defending champion Denver roars back with three straight wins and can book its spot in the Western Conference finals with a win in Minneapolis on Thursday.

Only five teams in NBA history have come back to win a best-of-seven series, losing the first two at home.

“Nikola was named MVP after the Game 2 loss and I think over the last three games he has shown everyone why he might be one of the best players to play this game,” Denver head coach Michael Malone added.

Jalen Brunson continued his exemplary playoff form with a 44-point performance to lead the New York Knicks to a 121-91 victory over the Indiana Pacers on Tuesday.

The Knicks now lead the series 3-2 and a win in Indianapolis in Game 6 on Friday night will earn the franchise a berth in its first Eastern Conference finals since 2000.

Brunson, who bounced back impressively after a poor performance in Game 4, also added seven assists and four rebounds. He has scored at least 40 points in five games so far in this year’s playoffs, the most of any player since LeBron James had eight in the 2018 postseason, according to ESPN.

Pascal Siakam scored a team-high 22 points, but it was a quiet night for star guard Tyrese Haliburton, who scored 13 points and made just nine shots all game.

The home team has won every game in this series so far, so Indiana will likely feel confident it can extend this semifinal to a Game 7.