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Only LeBron is Jokic's equal: The best thing about him is that he enjoys assisting

Nikola Jokic made his NBA Finals debut in a resounding, assertive and winning way. The Serbian finished with 27 points, 10 rebounds and 14 assists in a game he dominated at will. First reading, intimidating and marking the opposing defense, then defining when the Miami Heat got within 10 points in the last quarter. It was a total recital of the best player, along with Jimmy Butler, in the 2023 NBA Playoffs.

Because it is defined by that word: total. It is unparalleled.

"I was anxious, but when it started I felt normal. You give it too much importance," Jokic explained.

Outstanding, in any case. So much so that there is only one player in Finals history with numbers like that. LeBron James, arguably the best 'all-rounder' of all time in the league. The Serbian mimicked the 'King' at halftime, as the first player since James (in 2017) with 10 assists in a Finals half. He finished with 14, drawing praise from everyone.

"One thing I love about him is that he enjoys assisting. He prefers it. He put up 27 but if he had to put up less and win he would too," Nuggets coach Michael Malone confessed.

He also added efficiency, one of his great secrets. He had to shoot 12 times and missed four shots. Jimmy Butler, LeBron James and James Worthy are the only three to have a Finals game with 25 or more points, 10 or more rebounds and 10 or more assists combined with an efficiency of 60 percent or more. The Serbian, to repeat not to miss, played his first game. LeBron has 42 in a Finals.

The Serbian powered other great storylines like Jamal Murray (26+6+10). He is his perfect complement, in a game that he decided with the explosiveness and ability to get on a roll. Together with Jokic, he became the second all-time pair to score 25 or more points and 10 or more assists in a game since Magic Johnson and James Worthy in the 1987 Finals.

The Nuggets defended Denver at their first opportunity. The first step to being champions.

"Miami went to Milwaukee and won the first game. They went to the Garden in New York and won the first game. Then they won the first game in Boston. So we couldn't come here and let them control the series," said Michael Malone. The 1-0 is vital for those from Colorado.

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