The expulsion of MVP Nikola Jokic in Game-4 against the Phoenix Suns surprised not only the players on the pitch, but also those in front of the television for the match. From Ja Morant to Trae Young there was no shortage of incredulous tweets, but there are those who instead defined that intervention as deserving of a flagrant 2 and those who pointed out, from direct experience, that it is not the first time that the Serbian broke up go to fouls of frustration of this hardness
Even after watching his team fall to a 3-0 hole during a 116-102 Game 3 loss to the Phoenix Suns in the Western Conference semifinals on Friday night, Denver Nuggets coach Michael Malone , is hopeful that his team will not be eliminated via sweep on Sunday.
“I know for myself, I can’t speak for anyone else, the last thing I want to see is the Phoenix Suns with a broom on our court after Game 4,” Malone said. “We’ve had a tremendous, tremendous season. I said starting this year you can’t judge a season by the final result. We reached the Western Conference finals last year, certain things can happen, but we can have a better season this year. year, and not get that far.
“But the only thing I don’t want is for us to quietly walk out into that good night. I hope we show true struggle and resolve and force a Game 5 by returning to Phoenix for a Game 5.”
Malone drew attention after the loss in Game 2 when he said he felt his team “gave up” as they were outscored by the Suns in the second half for the second straight game.
He seemed most pleased with his team’s effort after Game 3, and took comfort in the fact that his young group came out of a 3-1 hole twice during the bubble playoffs last season.
“As for the 3-0 deficit, yeah, history is not on our side,” Malone said. “But you know what? We’ve rewritten history over the last few years. When we were down 3-1 twice last year, it was never about trying to win three more games. It was about winning the next game, winning the first quarter, win the second quarter, and that should be our mentality. “
The Nuggets also need to find a stronger resolve when it comes to defending All-Star Chris Paul, who has been burning the Nuggets throughout the series. That continued on Friday, when Paul had 27 points, 8 assists and 6 rebounds in 37 minutes.
Paul’s stabilizing presence has been a big reason the Suns are one game away from Denver’s season ending. He has scored 30 points on 12 of 13 shooting, including 4 of 4 from 3 points, with eight assists and no turnovers combined in all three-fourths of this series, according to research from ESPN Stats & Information.
“We have to make it harder for him,” Nuggets guard Monte Morris said. “He’s a Hall of Fame point guard, in the top five easily, still plays in the NBA … He’s getting everyone involved. CP is a tough cover for anyone, but we have to stick to our game plan and try to execute on it. the best way we can.
Morris added: “Wed — it’s 3-0. We have to leave it all there. We have nothing to lose. But we’re definitely not trying to get swept up before the offseason on our floor. That wouldn’t sit well.”
The only sentiment that sat down with the Nuggets centered on center Nikola Jokic, who received his MVP trophy before Friday’s game and then came out and scored 32 points, grabbed 20 rebounds and dished out 10 assists. Jokic joined Wilt Chamberlain and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the only players to have 30 points, 20 rebounds and 10 assists in a playoff game, according to research from ESPN Stats & Information.
The Serbian, star figure of the Nuggets, spoke to his fans in the preview of Game 3 against the Suns.
“It was a special moment,” Jokic said. “I enjoyed the moment. I wish my wife and parents could be here. I had my teammates behind me because this is my trophy, but it’s for all of them. So I have to thank them.”
If Jokic and the Nuggets lose Sunday’s Game 4, he would become the fifth MVP in league history to be swept in a playoff series, joining Magic Johnson (1989 Finals), Moses Malone (first round 1979), Abdul-Jabbar (1977 conference finals) and Wes Unseld (1969 conference semifinals).
“We have already experienced a [juego de cierre]”Suns guard Devin Booker said.” We know those guys aren’t going to give up. They have the MVP in the league there, they are well managed by Mike Malone and they have some players who play very hard. Nobody wants their season to end, so we know they are going to try everything and we are prepared for that. “
Malone said he hopes his team can straighten out before it’s too late.
“My only hope is that we haven’t let the rope go from what history tells us,” Malone said. “My only hope is that Sunday afternoon / night comes around, whenever that game is, our guys show up and fight. I think they deserve it, their teammates deserve it, and our fans deserve it, Get out there and drop it all on the line and you can walk off the court with your head held high. “
Denver / Munich – The new MVP Nikola Jokic comes under pressure with the Denver Nuggets in the play-off quarter-finals of the NBA. The team from the Serbian Star Center, which had been voted the most valuable player in the league for the first time the day before, lost to the Phoenix Suns 98: 123 and is already 2-0 down in the best-of-seven series. Jokic was the best scorer of the game with 24 points.
Gobert best defender
Meanwhile, Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert was named Best Defensive Player of the Season for the third time. The Frenchman had already received the award in the 2017/18 and 2018/19 seasons, only Dikembe Mutombo and Ben Wallace (both 4) and Dwight Howard (3) had won it at least three times.
Gobert had led Jazz to the best main round of all teams this season (52 wins, 20 losses). In the play-off quarter-finals against the Los Angeles Clippers, Utah is 1-0 ahead.
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Serbian Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic was voted Most Valuable Player of the 2021 NBA season.
Shams Charania, from The Athletic web portal, was the first to share the information. Jokic had 91 first-place votes.
Jokic, the first center to win the award since Shaquille O’Neal did it in 2000, he became the third European player to win it. The Greek Giannis Antetokounmpo prevailed in the last two awards and Dirk Nowitzki He did it in 2007.
Furthermore, the Serbian is the lowest pick (41) to achieve this distinction. That’s not including Moses Malone, according to ESPN Data, who started his career with the ABA. Giannis and Steve Nash (15) had previously been the lowest.
Jokic led the Nuggets to third place in the Western Conference with a 47-25 record.
He averaged 26.4 points, 10.8 rebounds and 8.3 assists. Likewise, he shot for 56.6% from the field, 38.8% from the triple and 86.8% from the free throw.
It could have been Joel Embiid, who had the best season of his career and led Philadelphia to the best record in the Eastern Conference. But Embiid ended up missing 21 games during the regular season, about the only thing that could slow him down as he set his career-high marks in points per game (28.5) and all three shooting percentages (51.3% overall, 37.7% from 3s. and 85.9% from the free throw line).
After Curry, a two-time winner of this award, missed all but three games last season after breaking his hand, he led the NBA in scoring for the second time in his career, averaging even 32 points per game while shooting 42.1% from triple, a career-high 12.7 attempts from behind the arc per game.
If there was any doubt that Curry was still among the elite of the game after the year was mostly out and into his 30s, he quickly dispelled them.
The almost single-handed 33-year-old point guard kept Golden State’s offense afloat this season without Klay Thompson, who missed his second straight season due to injury, this time with a torn Achilles tendon.
ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk and Tim Bontemps contributed to this story.
For the first time in 32 years, the Phoenix Suns meet the Denver Nuggets in the playoffs. The duels in the regular season were all close, but now the omens have changed. After LeBron James with Nikola Jokic, will the Suns also be the likely MVP from the postseason?
Here is an overview of all series.
Phoenix Suns vs. Denver Nuggets: The starting point
If it goes purely according to the results of the regular season, a close and high-class series awaits us. All three games were only decided in the final phase, twice it needed an extension, Denver won two of the three games. The parameters have changed, however, and little can be read from these three games, which all took place in January.
Jamal Murray wasn’t absent with a cruciate ligament rupture at the time, Aaron Gordon was still bobbing around in Orlando and Austin Rivers was on duty as a guard for the New York Knicks. Now the cards have been reshuffled, the Suns are favorites in this series. It is only logical, after all, Devin Booker and Co. knocked out the reigning champion with the Los Angeles Lakers and gave LeBron James an unexpectedly long offseason.
Phoenix isn’t just a 2-seed in the west, they play like one too. Deandre Ayton earned his spurs against Anthony Davis, role players like Mikal Bridges and Cameron Johnson proved that they can also perform on the big playoff stage.
And booker? Last but not least, he underlined with 47 points in a closeout game that he is one of the best guards and scorers in the league. There are only question marks behind Chris Paul, who dragged himself through the series with shoulder problems. The three-day break should do the 36-year-old good, he didn’t appear on the Injury Report before Game 1.
Suns vs. Nuggets: the series at a glance
2 O ‘clock
With Paul, Phoenix can draw on unlimited resources, the Nuggets cannot. With Murray (cruciate ligament rupture), PJ Dozier (adductors) and Will Barton (thigh), Denver was missing three guards in the series against Portland, and Barton is hoping that he will be back in action in the coming days. Dozier could also return on a longer series.
The guard rotation remains a construction site. Facundo Campazzo made the best of the situation as the new playmaker, while Rivers, who joined the team at the end of the season on a ten-day contract, scored several important three-pointers in crunchtime. The “next-man-up” mentality is not just an empty phrase in Mile High City.
Of course, it helps to play alongside Nikola Jokic. The Serb makes every player around him better, be it through his passports or the enormous gravity that he possesses through his many skills. Whenever the nuggets needed him against Portland, Jokic was there and was in no way inferior to the famous Damian Lillard on the other side. Now the next Herculean task is waiting.
Phoenix Suns vs. Denver Nuggets: Facts and Figures
Bilanz Regular Season
Offensive rating (place)
Defensive rating (place)
NBA Playoffs 2021: How the Suns win the series
The Blazers’ approach to making Jokic a scorer wasn’t bad, they just lacked the staff to do it. Ayton is a better defender in the post than Jusuf Nurkic, who felt he had the full series of foul problems. That will be the key for Phoenix too.
Ayton must not foul too much under any circumstances, as Frank Kaminsky and Dario Saric will certainly not see the sun against the MVP candidate. Ayton will probably play one-on-one against Jokic most of the time, the Nuggets star punishes double teams too well, as the past postseason showed impressively.
Occasionally, however, the Suns should give it a try. Jokic can be brought out of rhythm with various strategies. Phoenix has defenders with long arms that can rotate quickly. If the Lakers series has proven one thing, it is that Phoenix is incredibly stable on defense, with every cog in the other.
On the offensive, however, the situation is quite clear, Booker will have to create a lot again. Denver is known for its high pick and roll defense, so decisions need to be made quickly. That could hit Paul in particular, who is something of the wildcard of this series with his shoulder problems.
The Phoenix Suns roster
NBA Playoffs 2021: How the Nuggets win the series
After Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum, two more strong guards are waiting for the nuggets. As against Lillard, Denver will probably not have a useful answer against Booker, especially from the middle distance. One strategy is to live with exactly these attempts and to guard the triple line and allow little in the zone.
The Suns are not a team that puts a lot of pressure on the ring, which suits Denver. As mentioned above, the same applies to the fact that Phoenix only has one real center. If the Suns do double Jokic, a lot will depend on the role-players.
Can Rivers, Campazzo, Gordon or later Barton hit throws consistently? This question now arises for the third postseason in a row, against the Blazers the question could be answered in the affirmative. Nobody should assume, however, that Rivers will continue to hit over 45 percent of downtown.
Michael Porter Jr. is different. The Blazers did not have a suitable matchup for the youngster, now he has to deal with Crowder and Bridges, who should at least make him work harder. In order for Denver to score enough, MPJ will have to keep contributing an efficient 20 points per game.
The Denver Nuggets roster
Michael Porter Jr.
Suns vs. Nuggets: Who Will Win the Series?
On paper there are a lot of things that speak in favor of Phoenix, which should score well if they run normally. In contrast to Portland, however, they are not a real three-man team, which could suit the Nuggets. In a “make-or-miss” league, the form of the day will often decide.
Can Booker and Paul score consistently from the middle distance? That litter will always be there. Can the nuggets hit their threesomes? That is the other big unknown. It is known, however, that Jokic can and will dominate near the basket. He’s the best player of the streak and that could make the difference in the end. Forecast: Nuggets in 7.
National basketball player Maxi Kleber has been honored with a special trophy for his strong performance in the 130-124 victory of the Dallas Mavericks against the Orlando Magic.
He got the belt for the best defensive player of the game, which the Mavericks have been awarding for a little more than a month after victories and which is visually similar to a World Cup belt in Boxing Has. “He’s no one for spectacular moves, but within our system he’s super valuable, and you saw that tonight,” said coach Rick Carlisle, praising the 29-year-old from Würzburg.
Kleber had 13 points and six rebounds as well as two blocks and was able to record a career record of three stolen balls. “It’s a huge honor when you get it. But I don’t even know whether I would have given it to myself, especially because (Nikola) Vucevic has more or less always scored against me,” said Kleber of the German press agency Belt. “But it’s a cool honor and a huge incentive for the team to want to win every duel as an individual.”
Top scorer was again Luka Doncic with 33 points, ten rebounds and nine assists. The triple double from two-digit values in the most important statistical categories hailed him, of all people, from Kleber, who was unable to use a pass in a four-on-one situation. “I definitely screwed up his triple double today,” said Kleber. With their 17th win of the season, the Texans’ balance sheet is positive for the first time in weeks.
Isaiah Hartenstein also recorded a victory with the Denver Nuggets, which kept their lead on Dallas and, as seventh, can continue to hope for sixth place and thus direct participation in the playoffs. Thanks in part to 39 points from the regular center Nikola Jokic, the Chicago Bulls scored 118: 112.
The Atlanta Hawks had parted ways with coach Lloyd Pierce hours earlier after losing seven in the past ten games and worrying about a place in the playoffs.