Can anyone stop Nikola Jokic?
The MVP frontrunner chalked up yet another dominant performance in Game 6, continuing an extraordinary start to the 2021 postseason.
Pouring in 27 of his 36 points in the second half, Jokic once again proved unstoppable, with the superstar big man snuffing out any hope the home crowd had, as Denver sent the Portland Trail Blazers packing with a 4-2 series win.
Jokic added eight rebounds and six assists in the win, and finishes the series with averages of 33.0 points, 10.5 rebounds and 4.5 assists.
Nikola Jokic has done it again 🤯- NBA Australia (@NBA_AU) June 4, 2021
📊 36 points | 8 rebounds | 6 assists
The @nuggets advance with a 4-2 series win! pic.twitter.com/24RIgE9z4x
"It's tough for Nikola to surprise me," Nuggets head coach Michael Malone said. "Nikola's been incredible for many years now and I think in the four wins this series he averaged 36 or 37 points per game. That's why he's the clear cut MVP because we can take any body way from our team, but if we have Nikola we're going to find a way to compete because that's how great he is."
With just nine points at half time, it was an uncharacteristically subdued first half for Jokic.
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"He got into early foul trouble, he only had seven shots at halftime and I liked his energy, he was much more aggressive to attack Nurkic. When you see an aggressive Jokic it's a welcome sight because he's going to score or get someone an open shot and that's what makes him great."
In the opposing locker room, Portland superstar Damian Lillard had nothing but praise for Jokic in his postgame media conference.
"Throughout the season I go home and watch every game possible. I think he is the MVP, he's played every game, he does everything for their team," said Lillard.
"I think we got a front row seat to that in this series. He's making threes, scoring on the block, scoring at the free-throw line, getting to the free-throw line, he's making other guys better. He's everything for them and I think if it was any year where a guy like him and what he does for that team could lead a team to a champinship it would be this year because of how open it is."
p u n c h i n ' . t h e . c l o c k pic.twitter.com/Z33wx1pYG4- Portland Trail Blazers (@trailblazers) June 4, 2021
For Portland, it's the eighth straight exit from the playoffs without an NBA Finals appearance, with five of those coming in the first round. A clearly disappointed Lillard remained determined to continue to journey with the franchise next season.
"We fought through a lot of injuries this season, we had some adversity and we stuck together like a true team does," he said. "We went to battle, we didn't make excuses, we still don't make excuses and like I said, disappointing ending, this isn't what we wanted but we don't hang our head in those sitatutions.
"We just came up short. We didn't do what what was neccessary to win a series and we got to keep fighting, keep working, and keep coming back to battle. Regardless of how it ended we are always going to have our heads held high, have class, and go about it like real warriors. It's back to the drawing board for us."
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