On the seventh day, God rested. But when the Nuggets are to have any shot at pulling off somewhat basketball miracle, middle Nikola Jokic goes to have to tug his weary bones away from bed Sunday morning, pull on his measurement XXL SpongeBob SquarePants underwear and go beat the Portland Path Blazers.

In all of the NBA playoffs, no participant has been requested to sweat extra and relaxation lower than Jokic. If he seems to be drained, that’s as a result of Joker has been required to not solely lead the Nuggets in factors (24.eight per recreation), rebounds (12.6) and assists (9.1), but additionally do it whereas carrying Paul Millsap, Will Barton and under-performing teammates on his shoulders.

Right here is perhaps the craziest statistic of all of them: For all of the Keep Puft Marshmallow Man jokes instructed at his expense, Jokic is the lone participant in the complete 2019 postseason that has performed greater than 400 minutes of basketball. The truth is, no one else is even shut.

This insanity has acquired to cease. How Denver is attempting to win within the playoffs is ridiculous. Even Michael Malone admits it. And he’s the coach using the technique.

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“Nikola Jokic performed 65 minutes. That’s remarkable. That’s ridiculous. I can’t do this to him. That’s too many minutes,” Malone stated late Friday, after Denver misplaced 140-137 to the Blazers in a recreation that required 4 additional time intervals earlier than a winner may very well be declared.

Behind Joker’s again, some people snicker he’s fats.

However know what’s the largest well being danger to those Nuggets? Know why they’re down 2-1 on this best-of-seven sequence in opposition to Portland, two steps away from playoff extinction?

Too lots of Jokic’s teammates aren’t pulling their weight.

We’ll begin with Millsap, who has come nowhere near incomes his $29.38 million wage within the playoffs. Two years in the past, as a member of the Atlanta Hawks, Millsap averaged a stellar 24.Three factors and 9.Three rebounds throughout the postseason. These numbers have dropped to a pedestrian 13.Three and 6.Three rebounds for the Nuggets in 2019.

Sure, his function is totally different in Denver. However the decline in productiveness has been gorgeous. Sure, Millsap has been a beneficial mentor to the younger Nuggets. However for almost $30 million, is it an excessive amount of to anticipate Millsap to be one thing greater than a basketball Yoda?

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I misplaced the caliber in my Dopp package, so don’t fake to know Jokic’s body-fat share. However I’m fairly sure he has not an oz of false braggadocio on his 7-foot body. As NBA gamers go, he admits to at all times being “somewhat bit chubby.”

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