Nikola Jokić Joins Shaq With Most 40-Point Games From Centers Since 2000


  • Nikola Jokić dominated Minnesota with a 40-point stat line, joining 21st century centers with 5+ 40-point playoff games.
  • Despite Rudy Gobert defending him, Jokić made 8/9 shots in Game 5, showcasing his exceptional form.
  • The Nuggets aim to close out the series in Game 6, needing key performances to secure their spot in the Western Conference Finals.

A big night from Nikola Jokic was more than anticipated. Upon receiving his third MVP Award in his amazing career with the Denver Nuggets, a strong performance from him to win a pivotal Game 5 against the Minnesota Timberwolves in the West semis was needed.

By game’s end, not only did Jokić put up a remarkable stat line to will his team to a 112-97 victory and have them take a 3-2 series lead against Minnesota, he also joined a certain Hall of Famer at his position in a certain statistic since the turn of the 21st century.

Jokic’s Marvelous 40-Point Night

Recorded his 5th 40-Point Playoff Game; Joined Shaquille O’Neal


Jokić dominated throughout Tuesday night, no matter what the Timberwolves threw at him defensively.

He finished with a stat line of 40 points, 13 assists, seven rebounds, two steals, and a block on a remarkable 15-of-22 shooting from the field. Quite a special night for the Serbian big man, especially after receiving the third MVP Award of his career from NBA Commissioner Adam Silver.

Jokić’s primary matchup, Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert, was unable to slow him down. Of the nine shots Jokić took with Gobert defending him, he made eight of them as he was in complete rhythm throughout the game.

He also recorded the fifth 40-point game of his playoff career. According to StatMuse, he joins NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal as the only centers since the 21st century began to have five or more 40-point games in the postseason.

Jokić has been excellent in this series against Minnesota, barring his struggles in Game 2. He is averaging 29.4 points, 10.4 rebounds, 9.2 assists, 2.2 steals, and 1.2 blocks on 53.8 percent shooting from the field. Scoring 75 combined points over the last two games, he has stepped up greatly for the Nuggets as he can keep it up to help the team finish this series as soon as possible.

What’s Next for Wolves-Nuggets?

Nuggets Look To Close Out Minnesota In Game 6


Rolling with three straight wins after losing the first two games at home, the ball is in Denver’s court to finish off Minnesota.

After struggling to figure out Minnesota’s dynamic offense and suffocating defense, they have made the right adjustments to get themselves back in the series and are now on the brink of returning to the Western Conference Finals.

As for Minnesota, they needed better output from Anthony Edwards, especially with veteran point guard Mike Conley sidelined due to an Achilles injury. After exploding with 44 points in Game 4, Edwards took a step back with just 18 points on 5-of-15 shooting overall.

Better performances from Karl-Anthony Towns and Rudy Gobert will also be needed. Towns led Minnesota with 23 points and six rebounds, but had fouls limiting his effectiveness as Denver took advantage of the time he spent on the bench. When it comes to Gobert, even though he shot a perfect 7-of-7 from the field for 18 points, he must figure out how to outmatch Jokić on the defensive side of the ball, particularly in not letting him make all but one of his shots.

Whether the Nuggets confirm their return to the West Finals or the Timberwolves forcing a Game 7, Game 6 will confirm of those scenarios when Minnesota hosts Denver on May 16 at 8:30 p.m EST.


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