Baked in Nikola Jokic’s stand-up set after Wednesday’s workout – the same press conference at which he compared his athleticism to LeBron James for a good 20 seconds – was another more subtle joke that had some turbulent weeks ahead of him.
Jokic was asked how important the unexpected day of rest on Monday was, considering the Nuggets (12-8) from Thursday’s game against the Lakers to the All-Star break from March 5th every other day Day with two consecutive sentences play the timetable. That’s 16 games over the next 29 days.
Although Monday’s game was ultimately postponed due to a false positive on the Pistons side, Jokic went through his typical warm-up routine, watching a movie, picking it up and treating it like any other game day. When the game officially launched about 10 minutes before the scheduled tip, it wasn’t exactly a full make-up.
« When I went home I said, ‘I feel like I’ve played a game, » said Jokic. « It’s a strange feeling. But (Tuesday) was a really good day to take off and relax a bit just because, like I mentioned, I know our schedule, which we play every other day before the all-star break. »
The Nuggets have just completed an exhausting road trip with five games in three time zones. Now they are going to enter an even more relentless part of the schedule that will last almost a full month. The tiredness will increase and the injuries will increase.
The nuggets are already without Gary Harris (left adductor trunk) and PJ Dozier (thigh) for the time being. While Harris’ injury was not expected to be serious, neither defensive ace was given a specific time frame.
The nuggets can no longer afford to hurt the back space, especially when Jamal Murray is already playing with gnawing discomfort on his elbows, shoulders and buttocks. With 34.9 minutes per game, Murray is already playing well above his previous career high of 32.6. All of this means that Jokic will inevitably ask for more when he launches his early MVP campaign and endorses an automatic invite to his third all-star game in a row.
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Despite the ongoing pandemic, the risks associated with an All-Star game, and the rest he could get with the break, Jokic said he would like to join the game if that is included.
« As an All-Star, it’s an honor, » he said. « You represent a lot of people at home, Serbia, Sombor, my family. »
And while his workload is still on the rise, with career highs in minutes (35.8), points (26.8), rebounds (11.8) and assists (8.6), Jokic insists that he be on is a good place.
« I feel good, I feel in shape, » said Jokic. « Right now I have no problems. But I didn’t even know how many minutes were played. I’m fine now. I mean, I have really good communication with the coach. So if something happens … I mean, him will actually see if I’m tired or not. He knows me very well. «
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