The Western Conference Semifinals of the NBA playoffs have been as exciting as it gets. Contrary to what most people believed, the Denver Nuggets are giving the Los Angeles Clippers a run for their money, with All-Star big man Nikola Jokic performing at a superlative level.
Jokic got going early in Game 3 and finished with 32 points, 12 rebounds, and 8 dimes on the losing effort. Moreover, he was all over Clippers' big man Ivica Zubac and managed to foul him out in just 21 minutes.
However, Clippers' stars Patrick Beverley and Paul George didn't think that the Serbian center should have picked up that many fouls and that Jokic just put a lot of pressure on the referees with his 'flailing', which is the same thing Luka Doncic does.
Patrick Beverley And Paul George Call Out Nikola Jokic
“Jokic presents the same type of — I don’t know, I wouldn’t say problems — but he presents the same thing Doncic presents, Luka presents, a lot of flailing", Beverley said. "You know, puts a lot of pressure on the referees to make the right call. I think Zu (Zubac) did a hell of a job. He used all his six fouls, he did what he needed to do. Got one big dunk at the end. Big free throws at the end. We got a win. I think that’s the most important part," the guard stated.
“It’s tough. It’s just tough he gets those calls. He throws his body around. You know, it’s tough. Same thing Pat said. He puts the pressure on the refs. Some of those I don’t think are fouls, but he gets it. You know, you just tell Zu, he’s just got to continue to battle. He gets those calls, he gets them. Got to keep it going," George added.
Nikola Jokic Fires Back At The Clippers
Then again, the Serbian big man had a pretty blunt and accurate response to the Clippers' comments, pointing out that LA shot 26 free-throws during the game while the Nuggets only went to the line 10 times.
It's not a secret that referees protect All-Stars. They usually get the calls other players don't. It's also true that Jokic is one of the craftiest, savviest, and most skilled big men in the NBA, so yeah, he's going to get a lot of centers in foul trouble.