The legend of Nikola Jokic continues.
After a historic regular-season which will likely see him first-team All-NBA and win MVP, his dominance has continued into their first-round series against the Blazers.
In Game 3, Jokic put the game away with a key offensive rebound putback with a second left, after Monte Morris missed both free-throws.
He ended up finishing the night with 36 points, 11 rebounds, and five assists. His shooting was just as impressive as his stats with shooting splits of 57.7/50/94.4.
Next to Jokic, only LeBron James ‘20, Jamal Murray ‘20, Kevin Durant ‘18 and ‘14, and Larry Bird ‘87, are the only players in the postseason with stats and shooting splits line similar to Jokic in a game.
Jokic also joined James ‘20, Stephen Curry ‘19, Shaquille O’Neal ‘00, Hakeem Olajuwon ‘94, and Rolando Blackman, as the only players since 1984 with at least 35 points, 10 rebounds, and five assists vs. Portland.
Adding to the litany of legends with historical performances against the Blazers, the list continues.
Of players with a streak of 30 points against the Blazers in the playoffs, Jokic has tied O’Neal for the seventh most total points. Above Jokic are Curry, Jordan, Blackman, Karl Malone, and Magic Johnson.
As impressive, Jokic becomes the first player since Michael Jordan ‘92 to record 30 points on 50% shooting in each of his team’s first three playoff games.
Since 1996-’97, Jokic is the only postseason player to average at least 35 points on 55% shooting, 50% from three, and 90% from the free-throw line.
After each game against the Blazers, a story can be written about how they don’t have an answer for Jokic because they absolutely do not.
He’s shooting 63.9% when guarded by Jusuf Nurkic, Enes Kanter, and Robert Covington.
A breakdown of the type of shots shows Jokic is just converting at high clip wherever he wants:
- Post-ups - He leads the playoffs with six per game and is shooting 60% on such plays and scoring 55.6% of the time.
- Off-Screen - Third in the playoffs on such actions at 2.7 a contest and is shooting 50% and scoring 62.5% of the time.
- Pick-and-Roll Man - Even without Jamal Murray as the pick-and-roll ball-handler, Jokic’s efficiency on the most traditional play in basketball is felt. He’s the PnR man on the second most possessions in the playoffs at 5.7, and is shooting 68.8% of the time and scoring at a blistering 64.7% clip.
Jokic dismantling Portland's defense is the main reason why his team is up 2-1, and why he will in all likelihood win MVP. Next to fellow European Luka Doncic, Jokic has been the star of the first-round of the playoffs.