Nikola Jokić battled Joel Embiid last night in a matchup pitting the NBA's most confounding physical specimens against each other. Both players excelled. And although the Philadelphia 76ers big man posted a more impressive stat line, it was the visiting Denver Nuggets who emerged with a victory. Jokić scored 22 points, grabbed 13 rebounds, and dished out eight assists and also provided one of the more shocking highlights of the season.
Protecting a two-point lead with 90 seconds to play, the 7-footer took an outlet pass and drove toward the hoop. Upon being bumped by Embiid, Jokić was somehow able to float up a shot as he fell out of bounds. Which found the bottom of the net.
It just doesn't make any sense. A person the size of the BFG should not have the touch of an angel. Every now and again it's important to take stock of the NBA and realize just how mind-blowing the athleticism is, especially at the center position. Jokić and Embiid are essentially the real-world version of players we used to create on our video games. Enormous individuals who play like guards. Jokić is also blessed with the rarest of court-vision abilities, which only makes his artistry more beautiful.
Realize for a second how crazy it is that these two titans matching buckets last night may both be looking up at a different gigantic player on the pecking order in Giannis Antetokounmpo. It's hard to fathom that a player like Jokić could be the third-best at his position. Then again, there's very little about this guy that's easy to grasp.