“I like that we didn’t relax” - Nikola Jokic outlines Denver Nuggets’ strong mentality as they go 3-1 up

2023 NBA Finals - Game Four
Nikola Jokic, 2023 NBA Finals - Game Four

Following the Denver Nuggets' Friday night victory over the Miami Heat(108-95), Nikola Jokic praised his team's mentality.

After losing game two of the NBA Finals to the Miami Heat, many believed that both teams would split their following two games at the Kaseya Arena in Miami. However, the Nuggets have raised their execution level and won both of their road contests, putting them in command of the series with a 3-1 record.

"It's still one win," Jokic said. "We need to win one more. I like that we didn't relax. We didn't get comfortable. We were still desperate. We still wanted it. That makes me happy, that guys didn't relax."

Now, as the series heads back to Denver for game five, Michael Malone's team will have the chance to close things out and lift the Larry O'Brien Championship Trophy in front of their home crowd. Considering that the Nuggets have never been crowned NBA champions before, it's likely that Nikola Jokic and his teammates use that opportunity as extra motivation.

Still, the Miami Heat have proven their ability to win games with their backs against the wall during playoffs, and should not be overlooked when the two teams face off on Monday, June 12, at the Ball Arena.

Nikola Jokic praises Aaron Gordon's performance.

There's no denying that Aaron Gordon has begun to find his feet within the Denver Nuggets rotation. There's also no denying that Gordon has emerged as a vital cog in his team's rotation throughout the postseason. Yet, on June 9, Gordon once again displayed his two-way ability, ending the contest with 27 points, 7 rebounds, and 6 assists on 73.3% shooting from the field and 75% shooting from deep.

During his postgame press conference, Jokic discussed Gordon's game four performance, praising him for his current level of play.

"He's playing a different role," Jokic said. "And that's why he sacrificed himself. That's why he's a great teammate. And that's why he won us the game today. I think if you sacrifice yourself for something bigger than yourself or the team or whatever. He sacrificed himself, and I think that's why the one upstairs gave him the game that he had today."

Jokic continued.

"He was our best player on the floor. And guarding the best player every night - that's another tough job. And, maybe, you're not going to get enough credit. But we know what he's doing for our team. We're really thankful for him and appreciate him a lot."

Gordon has participated in 18 playoff games for the Denver Nuggets this season, averaging 13 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 2.5 assists per game while shooting 55.2% from the field and 37.5% from deep.

For a third option on the Nuggets roster, Gordon has become a primary contributor to his team's offensive and defensive schemes and is now seen as one-third of Denver's big three. Now, the Nuggets will be hoping they can replicate their performances from games three and four to close out their NBA Finals series against Miami to earn their first championship.

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Edited by Krutik Jain