Game recognize game.
While the Golden State Warriors made light work of the Denver Nuggets, advancing to the second round in five games, the one-on-one battle between Draymond Green and MVP favorite Nikola Jokic was far from easy.
NBA LEAGUE PASS: Sign up to unlock live out-of-market games (7-day free trial)
Green gave up significant size matching up with Jokic, but was impressive on the defensive end, making life as difficult as possible for the talented big man.
As the final buzzer sounded, the pair embraced, giving each other their props on a well-worn battle.
“I told him thank you for making me better,” Green revealed of their postgame exchange.
“It’s an honor and a pleasure to play someone so talented and so skilled. Usually when you have guys that talented and skilled they’re soft. And he’s far, far from soft.”
— NBA (@NBA) April 28, 2022
Jokic faced an uphill battle as the focal point of a depleted Nuggets team, with the Warriors sending much of their defensive attention his way throughout the series, however, he was still able to put up numbers, averaging 31.0 points, 13.2 rebounds and 5.8 assists on 57.5 percent from the field and 27.8 percent from the 3-point line through five games.
“He’s a great player, I mean give the guy credit, I think he’s stopped much better offensive players than me throughout his career,” Jokic said of Green postgame.
“I really appreciate whatever he’s doing for them, because that’s a tough position, he needs to do everything and he’s really accepting the role and being the best that he can be in that role and he’s a big part of their winning.
“I think that’s really hard to do and there’s not a lot of people who can do that and just accepting to be that guy, the glue guy who’s going to do a little bit of everything for them. You can hear him talking non-stop on defense, he’s actually their eyes and their ears, amazing player I really really appreciate our matchup.”
Green and the Warriors will now face either the Memphis Grizzlies or Minnesota Timberwolves in the second round.