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“He Was In The Zone”: Rudy Gobert Relives Horrific Nikola Jokic Nostalgia 3 Years After Serbian Giant’s Viral Remark

Published 05/15/2024, 6:15 AM EDT

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USA Today via Reuters

Fans on their feet and the Nuggets roster swarming their best player, Tuesday night in Ball Arena started with the festivities of Nikola Jokic finally receiving his third MVP trophy. But the applause got even louder and Denver fans got even more excited when The Joker showed why he won MVP as he decimated the four-time DPOY Rudy Gobert to lead the Nuggets to their first home win of this series. And Jokic’s forty-point scoring outburst even forced Gobert to appreciate his greatness as this was not the first time the French Center got schooled by the Serbian sensation.

With dazzling spin moves, incredible footwork, step back three-pointers, and rare dunks, Jokic was basically toying with Gobert and it looked like the MVP came out with a mission to embarrass the DPOY. And reliving the haunting memory of his beatdown at the hands of The Joker, Gobert said after the game, “He was in the zone.” Then, talking about Jokic’s sixteen-point third quarter that sparked a 23-8 run for the Nuggets, Gobert added, “It was just incredible… put the team on his back.”

USA Today via Reuters

Further elaborating how unstoppable Jokic was last night, Gobert revealed that there were times when he even blocked The Joker’s shot attempts and got his fingertips to them, but despite that the ball rolled into the basket. Maybe, Gobert was referring to the hook shot that Jokic hit at around the six-minute mark in the third quarter, where after the ball went in, Rudy looked visibly confused gesturing that his hand grazed the ball. Even Draymond Green, who was working as an analyst on Inside The NBA for the night, said after watching the game, “He (Jokic) embarrassed the h*ll out of Rudy Gobert tonight.”

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Rudy Gobert has felt this pain before

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Unfortunately for Gobert, this is not the first time in his career he has been dominated on the court by Jokic. While Jokic is not the one to toot his own horn because of his humble nature, his teammate Jamal Murray revealed in an interview three years ago how The Joker embarrassed Gobert both physically and verbally during a game. In that game, after Jokic had already scored forty-seven points with Gobert guarding him most of the night, the then-Utah Jazz Center refused to take any defensive help from his teammates, instead yelling, “No, I got him, I got him, I got him!”

Although not known as a big trash talker, Jokic was amused by Gobert’s decision and absolutely humiliated him by saying, “Brother, I have 47.” Reminding Gobert that he has been cooking him all night, Jokic left the seven-footer rethinking his strategy. Even Murray questioned, “Guys like, their pride, they want to guard 1 on 1. But how much do you want him to score?” And as it turns out, Jokic seems to be the Kryptonite for Gobert, as he also is for many other big men in the league because Jokic has scored 967 points in his career when playing against Rudy. That’s the most by any player against the four-time DPOY.

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Even the Wolves head coach Chris Finch made an honest confession about trying to stop Jokic in this series, “He had an MVP, best player in the world performance.” And admitting that they had no answer for Jokic and have not had one for the last three games, Finch’s comments raised even more concerns for the Wolves. After yesterday’s embarrassment, do you think Gobert will be able to bounce back in the next game or will he suffer another defeat at the hands of the Joker?

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Written by:

Rohan Bhaunt

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Rohan Singh Bhaunt, an NBA Writer at EssentiallySports, boasts a background as a divisional basketball player and an NBA enthusiast spanning over a decade. His extensive knowledge of the sport enables him to intricately explore its nuances, presenting a fresh outlook. Rohan's dive into the NBA NewsDesk at ES commenced with witnessing LeBron James secure his inaugural championship in Miami.
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Edited by:

Jayant Chhabra