While the move didn’t seem to slow down Jokic’s scoring, finishing with 41 points and 11 rebounds, his playmaking was curbed as he managed just four assists on the night — his fewest in a game in the postseason.
Compared to the six he handed out in the first quarter of Game 1 before even attempting a field goal, Jokic turned scorer as the Heat opted for single-man coverage as opposed to sending help.MORE: Malone, Murray rip Nuggets for lack of effort, discipline in Game 2 loss
ESPN reporter Ramona Shelburne asked Erik Spoelstra postgame if that was the team’s plan going into Game 2, but the Heat coach cut the question short, appearing frustrated by the narrative, instead heaping praise on Jokic’s versatility.“That’s a ridiculous … That’s the untrained eye that says something like that,” Spoelstra said.
“This guy is an incredible player. Twice in two seasons he’s been the best player on this planet. You can’t just say, ‘Oh, make him a scorer.’ That’s not how they play.”
Erik Spoelstra shut down Ramona Shelburne’s question about turning Jokic into a scorer or a passer quickly pic.twitter.com/PxcWQNN5w4
— CJ Fogler account may or may not be notable (@cjzero) June 5, 2023
Despite Spoelstra’s comments, there is some truth to the notion of letting Jokic score and forcing his teammates to create their own scoring opportunities.