Shaquille O’Neal praises Nuggets star Nikola Jokic’s performance in Denver’s 104-93 win over Miami in the NBA Finals, calling him the ‘true definition of a great player’
- Jokic broke multiple records in a dominant game to open the NBA title series
- O’Neal said the Serbian showed that he ‘definitely plays the game the right way’
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NBA Hall-of-Famer Shaquille O’Neal was left impressed at Nikola Jokic’s superstar performance in Thursday’s Game 1 of the NBA Finals.
Jokic put up a triple-double in his Finals debut – the first to accomplish said feat since Jason Kidd in 2002 – as his Denver Nuggets beat the Miami Heat 104-93.
The ‘Joker’ – as Denver fans have lovingly nicknamed him – dropped 27 points, 10 rebounds and 14 assists on the night.
In the process, he also broke Bill Russell’s longtime record for assists by a center in an NBA Finals game.
‘Joker, what can you say about him?,’ O’Neal began. ‘Very impressive passing, scoring, leadership, and he’s a true definition of letting the game come to you.
Shaquille O’Neal was singing the praises of Nikola Jokic after Thursday’s NBA Finals Game 1
Jokic (15) dropped a triple-double in his Finals debut – the first player to do so since 2002
‘Joker’ also broke Bill Russell’s long standing NBA Finals record for assists by a center in a game
‘Charles and myself, and Grant, sometimes, we would go get it. But, you know, the first five, six minutes, he probably didn’t even take a shot. … Most guys, especially the number one option, they’re going to get it [and think] “I want to score, but you know what? I’m going to look for my teammates. I’m going to create opportunities for them.”
‘And he’s a true definition of a great player. Not only does he make himself look good, makes everybody else look good. And I don’t know if he’s a pass first or a shoot first big man, but he definitely plays the game the right way.
‘He was super impressive to watch. This is the new age era of a big man. He can go inside, he can [go] outside, he can pass, he can start the break.
‘But again, if you’re a smaller defender, your teammates are going against a smaller defender, he’s not going to let you get away that. He’s going to make the right play every time. … This guy is super impressive as a big man, and I’m happy I got to see him live.’
Denver will hope to add to their series lead when they play Game 2 on Sunday night.