Nikola Jokic is not playing the blame game even after the Denver Nuggets fell to a frustrating 3-0 hole in their playoffs series against the Phoenix Suns.
After Friday’s contest that saw the Nuggets give the Suns a 116-102 win, Jokic instead took the blame and admitted that he needs to be better if they want any chance of winning a game–much more if they want to come back from the deficit.
“I think it’s going to be much easier for us if I start making shots,” Jokic said, per Harrison Wind of DNVR Sports. “I said it to the guys, it was my bad. I really needed to be better.”
The Joker also acknowledged the defense that Suns center Deandre Ayton had on him, but he emphasized that the Nuggets’ struggle was mainly because he failed to bank the easy shots.
“I think that Ayton did a really good job of being there, but still, I think I missed a couple easy ones,” the Nuggets big man added. “I tried my best I didn’t want to lose. I was trying to give everything I got.”
Nikola Jokic finished with 32 points but on 13-of-29 shooting from the field. He was also 1-of-6 from 3-point territory. Nonetheless, he might be being too kind by saying he is to blame for their loss. After all, one could say he was the only reason Denver was even in the game in the early proceedings.
The Serbian juggernaut played hard, adding 20 rebounds and 10 assists for another triple-double. Unfortunately, the rest of the Nuggets struggled, with Michael Porter Jr. and Aaron Gordon–the supposed no. 2 and no. 3 options with Jamal Murray sideline–combined for just 19 points.
Phoenix is proving to be a nightmare matchup for the Nuggets, with Chris Paul executing perfectly as the floor general and Devin Booker being the main attacking force. There is also Ayton who is holding his own against Jokic.
Hopefully, the rest of the Nuggets will be inspired by the heart Jokic showed in Game 3 as they try to steal one win against the Suns. They came back from two 3-1 deficits in last year’s playoffs, who says they can’t do it down 3-0?