Nuggets’ Nikola Jokic makes ‘freak of nature’ joke after rare monster dunks in Game 5 masterclass

Tony Nguyen | Denver Nuggets
May 15, 2024

On the night Nikola Jokic received his third NBA MVP trophy, he went out and proved why he was given that honor. In Game 5 of the Western Conference Semifinals, Jokic would power the Denver Nuggets to a 112-97 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves.

This marks the Nuggets’ third win in a row after falling in a 0-2 hole early in the series. With these wins, the Nuggets now have the series lead over the Timberwolves, 3-2. The Nuggets are also one win away from a trip back to the Western Conference finals.

Jokic was on an absolute tear, scoring 40 points while also recording 13 assists and seven rebounds. The big man wasn’t afraid to launch it from deep either, as he went 2-of-3 from 3-point range. What makes this stat line even more impressive is that he was being guarded by four-time Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert.

The Timberwolves threw practically everything they had at Jokic in Game 5, but he was simply unstoppable.

“I just laugh. That’s all I can do. I can’t be mad,” Timberwolves’ star Anthony Edwards said via Ben Golliver. “He’s the MVP. He’s the best player in the NBA. He showed it the last three games. … He was special tonight. I have to give him his flowers. He was that guy.”

Nikola Jokic masterclass leads to a Nuggets 3-2 series lead

Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic (15) reacts after a play in the second quarter against the Minnesota Timberwolves during game five of the second round for the 2024 NBA playoffs at Ball Arena.
Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

In Game 5, Jokic made countless highlight tape-worthy shots. Jokic has never been much of a flashy dunker in his career. But during his 40-point performance, he sprinkled in a few monster dunks that had fans at Ball Arena leaping out of their seats. On one particular play, Jokic blew past defenders in an open lane, leapt high, cocked the ball way farther back than we are used to seeing with him, and jammed it home.

“I had an open lane. And you know, I’m a freak of nature. Why not show my athleticism,” Jokic joked postgame.

With performances like this being the norm, Jokic’s teammates are starting to run out of proper words to use when describing their teammate.

“There aren’t enough words,” said Aaron Gordon. “He was amazing tonight. That was ridiculous.”

When the Nuggets fell into a 0-2 hole in the series, pretty much everyone had them written off. They were heading to face the Timberwolves on their home court after being routed at home. Honestly, things looked pretty bleak. The Nuggets never doubted themselves though. With some newfound vigor, the Nuggets would win the next three games.

The Nuggets know what lies ahead of them, however. A closeout game is always one of the toughest, but the Nuggets feel like they are ready and have what it takes.

“Obviously we’ve won three games in a row, and I think in those games we’ve been physical, aggressive, assertive, disciplined, confident, whatever you want to call it,” Nuggets head coach Michael Malone said. “We know that a closeout game is always the hardest game in any series. … We just have to weather the storm, stay with it, and continue to play championship-level basketball.”

The Nuggets will look to close out the series in Game 6 on Thursday.