Although Nikola Jokic had 15 points, eight rebounds and five assists, his night was otherwise one to forget as the Denver Nuggets fell to the Los Angeles Lakers. Jokic tangled with Julius Randle, got thrown to the floor, and was beat off the dribble by Isaiah Thomas in a moment that’s gone viral.
With less than two minutes remaining in the game and Nuggets only trailing the Lakers by five points, Jokic found himself switched onto Thomas. It was hardly the first such instance of the game, and it won’t be the last in Jokic’s career.
After receiving a pass back from Lonzo Ball, Thomas went into attack mode with the shot clock winding down. He dribbled left, then crossed back over right, leaving the athletic big man in his dust.
Keenly aware he had a clear path for a layup, Thomas couldn’t help but smile and let out a memorable expression, which Lakers senior designer/new media specialist J Alexander Diaz captured:
The moment I.T. realized he had him. ???? pic.twitter.com/F3vpkn0EQP
— J Alexander Diaz (@jdeez) March 14, 2018
“Just making a basketball play,” was how Thomas described the sequence. “He’s too big to stay in front of me. I just tried to use my quickness and attack downhill. He guessed wrong.”
Thoms scored 13 of his 23 points in the fourth quarter, making multiple clutch baskets down the stretch. It was a second consecutive game in which played 31 minutes and scored at least 20 points.
Thomas reiterated that type of production can be expected of him so long as Lakers head coach Luke Walton continues to provide him with an opportunity to play meaningful minutes. Thomas’ Lakers high is 29 points scored against the Portland Trail Blazers on March 1.
— NBA (@NBA) March 14, 2018