Denver Nuggets’ Nikola Jokić provides entertainment in 2020 NBA All-Star Game

by Eric Spyropoulos
Staff Writer
@EricSpyrosNBA

CHICAGO - Sunday’s 2020 NBA All-Star game was a showcase of the game’s best, a platform for the league to contribute to two charities from the Chicago area and a celebration of the late Kobe Bryant and David Stern.

The night was injected with plenty of enthusiasm and on-court entertainment in the form of Nikola Jokić and his expressive personality. Jokić finished with five points, two rebounds, one assist and one steal in 12 minutes of action in Team LeBron’s 157-155 victory, but his celebrations throughout the night stole the show.

"I enjoyed it a lot," Jokić said. "I enjoyed it last year, just being around the guys. I scored two times and I was so happy. Now we have a little rest and then the season continues."

Denver’s two-time All-Star big man got his night started on the defensive end after checking in midway through the first quarter, using a steal to fuel a Team LeBron fastbreak. Jokić’s highlight from the first half was a sweet alley-oop feed to Ben Simmons, which showcased the Serbian big man’s unique playmaking ability from the center position.

Team LeBron won the first quarter 53-41, which meant that $100,000 were donated to Chicago Scholars, the charity of choice for Team LeBron. By winning the second quarter, Team Giannis and the NBA donated the same amount to After School Matters. Team Giannis led 92-83 at the halftime break. Jokić had a steal, rebound and an assist in seven first-half minutes.

After checking in for his first stint in the second half, Jokić immediately scored his first two points of the night and celebrated in a way only he would, by running back down the court with his fists up in the air.

After hitting a 3-pointer several possessions later, Jokić went to the air-guitar celebration as the game went to a timeout. The Serbian big man dropped five points and one rebound in his five minute-stint in the third frame as the two teams battled back-and-forth to a 41-all draw.

"I changed the velocity of the game!" Jokić said when asked about his 3-pointer. "Me and Russ (Westbrook) did."

With the new scoring rules in place to honor Kobe and Gigi Bryant, the two teams played to 157. Team Giannis entered the fourth quarter with a 133-124 lead, thus needing 24 points in the fourth quarter to secure the victory.

The competition increased tremendously in the fourth quarter as Team LeBron secured the victory on a free throw from Anthony Davis. The United Center crowd watched with bated breath as each basket took on additional meaning. Jokić watched from the bench as his night and second All-Star weekend wrapped up.

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