Nikola Jokic admits Nuggets played better defensively after his ejection vs. Pistons


Denver beat Detroit 107-103 this Monday night in a match marked by ejections, especially after Reggie Jackson’s clutch performance late in the game. Unfortunately for the Nuggets, they lost coach Michael Malone and Nikola Jokic to ejections after they both had heated discussions with the officials.

Assistant coach David Adelman had no choice but to enter the game and fill the coach’s shoes. After the game was done, he praised the team for remaining resilient throughout the match and even went all the way to joke about how Jokic’s ejection actually helped them.

“I’m most proud of 30 assists. There were some times where it looked extremely ugly, but we kept moving the ball. You kept trying to find the open man. That’s what wins games. Obviously Nikola getting kicked out helped as well,” the assistant expressed while the locker room celebrated.

Incredibly, the Serbian star shared the same sentiment as his assistant coach and joked even further. Sarcasm or not, the team’s big man seemed convinced his team played better defense without him. “Especially [on] defense,” he said.

In the post game interviews, Malone explained how difficult it felt to watch the rest of the contest from the locker room. The current champion reveals he could see details he hadn’t noticed unless he watched the game from through the television screen.

“During the game, you see things. When you’re watching on TV, you see everything. It’s hard to watch, I’ll just leave it at that. It’s hard to watch, but it’s great to watch a win. When you make a good play, we’re pumping our fists, we’re excited, we’re hugging. When you don’t make a good play, I’m cursing in Serbian,” the coach stated.

“I do,” he then responded when asked whether he knows Serbian curse words. “I’ve been with him 9 years.”

After carrying four defeats at home, Jokic had been criticizing his team’s defense last week and now realized he might be the problem

As the Nuggets lost against the Cavaliers on Sunday, the Serbian center attended the press and discussed the team’s recent struggles. According to Jokic, who produced a double-double with 18 points, 10 rebounds, 7 assists, 1 steal and a block, Cleveland was clearly better throughout the game.

“They were just better. In the offensive glass, paint, they were getting everything they want,” Nikola said after lasting 28 minutes in the Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.

Their Sunday loss means their fourth defeat in a row away from home, as Denver is currently on the road. Their latest win against Detroit will give them confidence as they prepare to play the Orlando Magic on Wednesday and the Houston Rockets two days later.

“The win would be nice,” Jokic anticipated before handing the Pistons their 12th consecutive loss of the 2023/24 NBA season. “Maybe play a little bit better, get open shots. I think we have been playing a little bit stagnant right now. Maybe a little more movement in defense. Our defense is really bad right now,” he claimed.

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