NBA

'He's a two-time MVP for a reason' – Warriors HC Steve Kerr on 'everybody's kryptonite' Nikola Jokic

By Sports Desk October 22, 2022

Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr feels nobody has figured out the correct answer for how to defend reigning back-to-back MVP Nikola Jokic after the Denver Nuggets left Chase Center with a 128-123 upset win on Friday night.

With the Nuggets' second-best player Jamal Murray sitting out the game as part of his recovery plan from a long-term injury, Denver's fate was left in the hands of Jokic, and he delivered once again.

Jokic posted a triple-double in the win, finishing with 26 points (seven-of-13 shooting), 12 rebounds and 10 assists in his 34 minutes.

The Nuggets led by 10 points with just 74 seconds remaining, but a Warriors flurry saw them cut the lead to 124-123 after a steal in the backcourt gave Jordan Poole an easy layup with 14 seconds on the clock.

But Jokic steadied the ship, immediately heaving a full-court pass to Bruce Brown for an uncontested dunk to avoid having to sweat through a pair of free throws, before the big Serbian went to the line to close the game out himself, hitting both foul shots to finish 11-of-11 from the charity stripe.

When asked after the game if the seven-foot maestro is the Warriors' kryptonite, Kerr said he does not know how anyone would slow him down.

"He’s everybody’s kryptonite,” he said. "He’s a two-time MVP for a reason. The guy is a phenomenal player, and he just makes the game so much easier on his teammates.

"They've done a really good job in Denver the past few years, building their roster, building their identity. But yeah, Jokic is Jokic. I don't know if any other team gives him a hard time."

Nuggets head coach Michael Malone echoed the sentiment, saying at this point the only advice he can give the 27-year-old is about being a vocal leader.

"My biggest challenge for Nikola is always finding a way to use his voice and be a leader," he said. 

"This is his team. He’s a great player, and what makes him great is he makes every one of those guys better. 

"That chemistry is only going to continue to get better and better as the season goes along – but tonight was a great example of what it has potential to be."

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