Jokic about his defense in the NBA finals: “The main focus is not to give them easy shots”

2023-06-09T14:11:23+00:00 2023-06-09T18:20:11+00:00.

Nikola Miloradovic

09/Jun/23 14:11

Nikola Jokic is rarely praised for his defense, but he had an elite performance protecting the rim in Game 3

By Eurohoops Team/

Denver Nuggets took back the home-court advantage after winning Game 3 of the NBA Finals against the Miami Heat, the first one of the series in Florida, and they grabbed a 2-1 lead before Game 4, which is scheduled for Saturday at 2.30 am CET.

Nikola Jokic is having a historic postseason, averaging a triple-double and shattering multiple records night in and night out on his run to the championship.

Before the fourth match of the series, he talked about his defense, the part of his game most criticized by NBA analytics and media. The fact is that Miami hit only three out of 19 shots over him in the previous encounter, with Bam Adebayo making only one out of ten.

I think I didn’t affect them at all. They are really good players. Maybe just to try and make him (Adebayo) uncomfortable, take the shot he doesn’t want, take it over a contested hand, or move his hand and shoot a little bit. The main focus is not to give him an easy one,” Jokic said.

Was it difficult for him coming to the NBA, with the stats playing an important role, especially in the media, in contrast to European basketball?

I don’t feel that way because I only talk about the people telling me my stats,” Jokic joked. “I try to say it’s a team basketball, so yes, I feel that way. I think it’s how everything works. In Europe is a little more about the team and winning, but here it is also about winning, maybe more about stats. I really don’t know.”

Jokic is known for his high basketball IQ and enjoys playing the game “like chess”, especially in the Finals, where the stakes are the highest possible.

It’s cool to see different solutions, players thinking differently, how some players react… Especially now. They blitzed us a couple of times and stole the ball, but then we reacted well. It’s like a chess game; they make one move, then we make another. Now is the time when players show what they got.