Nikola Jokic Reflects on Previous Loss and the Reinvented Lakers
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Denver Nuggets' star Nikola Jokic reflects on his team's five-game loss to LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers in the bubble, admitting that he remembers very little from that encounter. As the Nuggets prepare to face the Lakers once again, Jokic acknowledges the significant changes that have occurred since their last meeting and expresses excitement about the fresh dynamics that will unfold on the court.
When asked about the lessons he took away from their previous loss, Jokic humbly stated, "To be honest, nothing. I don't remember it." This response indicates Jokic's focus on the present and his unwavering determination to adapt to the challenges posed by the revamped Lakers team.
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Jokic acknowledges that the Lakers his team faced in the bubble are vastly different from the current iteration. He highlights the novelty and distinctiveness of this new Lakers roster, recognizing that they have been performing exceptionally well during the playoffs.
"They're playing amazing in these playoffs. Since [the trade] deadline, they're playing really well," Jokic acknowledges. Nuggets forward Aaron Gordon joins the conversation, praising Lakers' big man Anthony Davis, stating, "AD is a guard in a 7-foot-2 body.
He is able to handle the ball really well, able to draw fouls, so you have to be conscientious with your hands. He can shoot that middy, fadeaway over both shoulders, just his skill package while being that big." Gordon's admiration for Davis's versatile skills underscores the challenges that lie ahead for the Nuggets in containing the Lakers' star.
Head coach Michael Malone also weighs in on Jokic's growth, highlighting the Serbian center's transformation both on and off the court. "Nikola has just to me been a definition of greatness for a while now," says Malone.
"The consistency in which he plays at, the level he plays at is just something you marvel at sometimes. [But] he's changed. He's married, he's a father, he's matured." Malone's words shed light on Jokic's personal evolution and his ever-increasing ability to impact games with his brilliance.
Malone emphasizes Jokic's outstanding contributions in the bubble, as well as his ongoing achievements in the series against Phoenix, where he averaged a triple-double. Malone reflects, "The series he just came out of against Phoenix averaging a triple-double was just incredible.
Nikola is still doing things that very few guys in NBA history have done." Jokic himself expresses confidence in his team's capabilities, attributing it to their collective experience. "We are more experienced," Jokic affirms.
"We have been there before. We are maybe a little bit more, not focused, [but playing in] different environments [than the bubble]. So I think we are just experienced, playing a little bit more together." Jokic's belief in the Nuggets' cohesiveness and battle-tested resolve provides optimism as they face the challenging task of overcoming the reinvigorated Lakers.