Last night’s game between the Miami Heat and the Denver Nuggets wasn’t supposed to be so hyped up, but after the brawl that happened earlier this month in their first matchup, all eyes were pointed at the rematch. We all saw and heard the infamous push with which Jokić retaliated after Markieff Morris‘s cheap shot. The talk that ensued between the brothers of the protagonists only added fuel to the fire.
The rematch without some big names
The Heat and the Nuggets are both quality middle-of-the-pack teams in their respective conferences, as this matchup guaranteed a good game even without all the off-court drama. Unfortunately, both teams were missing key players. Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. have been injured from the Nuggets side, and Jimmy Butler, Tyler Herro, and Markieff Morris were all unavailable to play for the Heat.
That was not only a bummer from a basketball standpoint but for the dramatic potential of the matchup, with some of the main actors in the fight not playing. Jokić was also close to sitting out with a wrist injury, but he suited up and gave us a monster performance.
Heat fans didn’t forget or forgive the shove, as the Serbian got loudly booed every time he touched the ball from the jump. But it didn’t look to affect him too much, as he and the Nuggets took control of the game early and never let it go. After the game, Jokić was asked about getting booed, but he simply shrugged it off by saying where he came from.
“I played in Serbia, brother. I wish you guys could feel that.”Nikola Jokić
If you don’t know, fans from the Balkan area, or to be more specific, Serbia, are infamous for being some of the craziest in the world. The fan groups of teams like Red Star Belgrade or Partizan are crazy, and Nikola’s basketball upbringing toughened him up early, playing in some of the loudest and craziest arenas at a young age in the Adriatic and Serbian basketball league. So getting booed a bit in Miami wasn’t anything special for the reigning MVP.
In the end, Jokić showed no signs of rust, finishing the game with 24 points, 15 rebounds, and 7 assists. He also got great help from Aaron Gordon (20pts) and rookie Bones Hyland (19pts). On the other side, Jokić’s matchup Bam Adebayo had a great game with 24 points, 13 rebounds, and 6 assists, but it wasn’t enough to lead his team to victory in the absence of Jimmy Butler and Tyler Herro.
The Nuggets have climbed to .500 at 10-10, while the Heat are still in a good position with a 13-8 record. When and if both of these teams get healthy, they could be a dark horse for sneaking their way into a playoff run.