SAN FRANCISCO — Jordan Poole made his team Golden State Warriors down just one point with 14 seconds left following his larceny of the ball from an uninspiring Denver Nuggets pass and laying it back into.
Just a second after, while they Warriors were still in the transition phase, Nikola Jokic inbounded the ball using an inbound heave across the court -an action Jokic acknowledged to be “a risk” following the game.
This was a chance he was more than happy to chase after. Bones Hyland turned the ball over and ended up in the bucket of Poole. Jokic witnessed nothing but an influx of Warriors jerseys.
“My guys needed been open to talk to me,” Jokic said.
The ball was tossed 85 feet, only to be met by an unobstructed Bruce Brown, who complete the sequence by shot. This — along with two free throws only a few seconds after was the final touch to seal the Nuggets victory by 128-123 on Friday night.
Draymond Green stated that the Warriors didn’t sleep on Jokic’s pass, however there was a gap in communication. Usually the Warriors would like their center back under the basket to the left, but in this case, it was Draymond Green and he was snatching.
“It’s an untried situation to our security guards. Guards don’t guard against the ball,” Green said. “That’s an issue I should have conveyed. I ought to have made it clear that we must ensure that we’ve got an individual back. That’s something we can take away from.”
Jokic completed his game scoring 26 points, 7-of-13 shooting as well as 12 rebounds and 10 assists, which is his 77th triple-double of his career. Jokic is now the second most triple-doubles of an a player in NBA history, trailing only Wilt Chamberlain (78).
Jokic played or was a part of fifty Denver points, however it was his pass that stood out more than the other stats he had.
“Honestly, we’ve been 8 years now together and nothing surprises me,” Nuggets coach Michael Malone stated. “So many important game, many times where he’s made the biggest play, the right move and game-changing play. … The intelligence is unbeatable. He’s on the move playing chess and many other players have been playing checkers.”
When they played the Warriors in the game, the Nuggets recorded 24 points on Jokic’s passes. He shot 10-of-15 and 4 of 7 from 3. Three of his 10 assists were during transition as well as six resulted in chances to shoot.
Five teammates scored on his passes Five different players scored, with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope as well as Bruce Brown benefiting the most.
Caldwell-Pope scored 3-of-5 on Jokic’s assists, and Brown scored a perfect 4 of 4, including the game-winning dunk.
Prior to playing, Malone spoke his team’s necessity to develop chemistry, as his team’s Nuggets received eight players who were new to the team, which included Caldwell-Pope as well as Brown as well as the reintegration of Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr.
In this regard, Malone has been challenging Jokic to elevate his role as a leader to the next stage not only leading through example, but also by speaking up and encouraging.
At least three or four instances on the Friday night, Malone claimed to have seen Jokic use at the board during timeouts in order to explain to his newly arrived and younger teammates what they should be on the play.
“If you inquire about Bruce as well as Kenny Pope, from afar they might have admired Jokic’s speed when he played against him. However, it’s a different experience when you’re playing with Jokic,” Malone said. “He makes it so easy, but you must to be prepared.”
The Nuggets went into the half with 70 points, and were up by 18 over Golden State, but a trademark Warriors third quarter surge that was paired with a powerful fourth quarter saw them fall to eight with five minutes left.
Stephen Curry finished with 34 points shooting 10-of-22 and Andrew Wiggins added 23 points and eight rebounds . Draymond Green scored the same number of points, with nine assist.
However, Denver beat on the Warriors 9-4 in the final seconds to win the game.
“Our Second quarter of the game was among our top quarters over the last few years against a good adversary,” Malone said. “But at the end of the game there are a lot of things that we have to tidy up. … However, it’s winning day. It’s a treat to savor for around two and two-and-a-half hours on the plane, and next night we’ll have the home opener.”