Path Blazers guard Damian Lillard was the discuss of NBA Twitter on Tuesday night time, even after his staff misplaced in a 147-140 double-overtime thriller to the Nuggets. Lillard erupted for 55 factors in opposition to Denver and set a brand new NBA playoff file for many 3-pointers in a recreation (12 of 17 from past the arc).
Whereas Lillard actually deserved the entire reward that got here his approach, it should not be forgotten that presumptive MVP Nikola Jokic emerged victorious after posting a ho-hum line of 38 factors, 11 rebounds, 9 assists, 4 blocks and one steal in 46 minutes. Very like Lillard, Jokic supplied loads of highlights all through the night, however one stood above the remaining.
With lower than two minutes to go within the second extra time interval and the rating tied at 140, Jokic threw some of the stunning passes of the 2020-21 season to Michael Porter Jr., who drilled a clutch 3-pointer from the left nook.
OK, let’s break this play down as a result of it is an amazing instance of Jokic’s basketball genius.
First, Jokic acknowledges Portland is not going to permit him to work one-on-one within the submit in opposition to Enes Kanter. Path Blazers ahead Norman Powell comes over for the double-team, leaving CJ McCollum, Damian Lillard and Robert Covington zoned up in opposition to the opposite 4 Nuggets gamers.
Jokic would not have nice choices and is operating out of time — the shot clock is down to 5 seconds — so he throws his hand up virtually as if to say, “Hey, can considered one of you guys transfer for me, please?”
Denver ahead Aaron Gordon lastly takes the trace, darting from the 3-point line into the paint. Gordon’s reduce forces Covington to carry for a cut up second, and Jokic is aware of he has a gap.
However this is the factor: Jokic nonetheless has to make this move over a defender in fairly good place, and he has to place it in a spot that enables Porter to rapidly catch and shoot. If the move is astray, there’s a probability Porter goes out of bounds or cannot launch earlier than the shot clock expires.
Oh, no drawback. Jokic simply lofts the ball proper over Covington’s outstretched arm and into Porter’s taking pictures pocket.
After which Porter takes it from there.
No surprise Doc Rivers known as Jokic the “finest passing massive” that he is ever seen. What number of facilities in NBA historical past may full this play with such precision?
That listing might begin and finish with Jokic.