When Jokic was told by a reporter what Caldwell-Pope said after the Nuggets beat the Lakers in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals, the two-time MVP said it’s “cool” to be compared to one of the greatest players in NBA history.
“I mean, to be compared to one of the best ever, or the best ever, I think it’s really cool,” Jokic said. “But I don’t know, I think we don’t have a similar game. Maybe we have a similar global game if that makes any sense. We affect the game in different ways. But he’s a really good player.”
Jokic and James are two of the best players of all time. Both superstars can score, rebound and pass at a high level and make their teammates better. The Nuggets big man had 34 points, 21 rebounds and 14 assists in Game 1, while the Lakers forward put up 26 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists.
Denver won Game 1 of the WCF by a final score of 132-126. James has lost only once in the conference finals during his legendary career, so Jokic and Co. are looking to accomplish a rare feat by eliminating the Lakers.
LeBron James: ‘They Punched Us in the Mouth to Start’
The Lakers were outscored by the Nuggets 37-25 in the first quarter and 35-29 in the second quarter during Game 1. James, 38, believes Los Angeles got punched in the mouth to begin the game.
“It took us a half to get into the game,” James said. “And that was pretty much the ballgame right there. They punched us in the mouth to start. … I know the game is won in 48 minutes, but they set the tone in 24 minutes and we were playing catch-up for the next 24.”
The Lakers, led by James, Anthony Davis and Austin Reaves, played much better in the second half, outscoring the Nuggets 38-34 in the third quarter and 34-26 in the fourth quarter. Los Angeles will look to even up this series in Game 2, which is on May 18.
Anthony Davis, Nikola Jokic Praise Each Other
Both Davis and Jokic had high praise for each other after Game 1. The All-Stars are two of the most talented players in the game.
“He’s really, really, really, first of all, talented,” Jokic said about Davis. “He’s a roll threat. He can play in the pocket. He can play iso. He can play on the post. So he’s really, really talented. Probably the most skilled guy if you think about the size and what he can do with the ball and how good of a shooter he is and how he’s attacking the glass. So I think probably one of the most talented players in the league.”
Added Davis about Jokic: “I mean, he’s a two-time MVP. He’s very skilled, obviously as his numbers show. Made some tough shots. Just try to make it tough for him. Switching up matchups and schemes on him, but he’s been playing well through the entire season and especially in this playoffs. So you tip your hat to him.”