Anthony Edwards on Nikola Jokic’s masterful Game 5 performance: “I just laugh. That’s all I can do.”

Rudy Gobert’s effort was valiant. But Nikola Jokic was just too good.

In the midst of Jokic’s scoring onslaught in the third quarter of Game 5, the Timberwolves big man was in the paint, trying his best to prevent the three-time MVP from moving around him.

Jokic backed down Gobert, turned left, then right, then left again before he shot the ball over the four-time Defensive Player of the Year’s outstretched arm and into the heavens before dropping down through the net.

The Nuggets took a seven-point lead with 6:40 left in the quarter, as Minnesota — the best defensive team in the NBA — saw its hopes for a Game 5 slowly fading away.

“I just laugh. That’s all I can do,” Minnesota guard Anthony Edwards said after a 112-97 loss Tuesday night at Ball Arena. “He’s the MVP.”

“… I have to give (Jokic) his flowers. He was that guy.”

There was nothing the Timberwolves could do against Jokic, who tallied 40 points, 13 assists and seven rebounds to lead the Nuggets to take a 3-2 series lead. Timberwolves head coach Chris Finch said the team tried everything defensively to stop Jokic, but it was no use.

Finch thought Jokic did a good job at putting himself in one-on-one situations, where he used his body to back defenders down. Gobert was Jokic’s primary victim.

It started in the first quarter when Jokic scored a turnaround fadeaway jumper over the Frenchman in the opening minutes. Later in the second, he dribbled under the basket before sinking a hook shot with Gobert draped all over him.

“That was a best-player-in-the-world performance,” Finch said. “We didn’t have an answer for him. Honestly, we haven’t had one the last couple of games.”

As the game progressed, Jokic continued to hunt Gobert. He spun around guard Kyle Anderson before converting a layup over Gobert while drawing a foul, extending Denver’s lead to 11 points. In the final 41 seconds of the third, he was guarded by Gobert at the 3-point line when he powered to the rim and converted a fadeaway shot.

By the end of the night, Jokic made 8 of 9 shots when defended by Gobert.

“He made plays that were tough to counter,” Gobert.

Just like his teammates, Gobert didn’t spend too much time dwelling in frustration over Jokic’s performance. All he could do was tip his cap.

“There were a couple of shots that I (thought) I blocked and the ball went in,” Gobert said. “It was incredible.”

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Source:: The Denver Post – Sports


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