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Nikola Jokic Lulled Hassan Whiteside To Sleep

Photo: Craig Mitchelldyer (AP)

New Blazers addition Hassan Whiteside was very, very excited to see Nikola Jokic in early foul trouble on Tuesday night. After racking up three fouls in four minutes of play, the Nuggets big man hibernated for the rest of the first half. He then returned in the second half to cook the opposition. Deadspin’s Being Tall correspondent Patrick Redford reports that this is what he used to do in the driveway after losing his dribble, and it is amazing to see in live NBA action:

Doing the tough work of leadership, Damian Lillard said after the game that he was impressed by his new teammate’s defensive performance and that he had never seen anybody guard Jokic “so consistently.” While Whiteside did give offer some resistance in the paint, and wasn’t the only Blazer big tasked with guarding Denver’s superstar, the overall facts of the fourth quarter told a different story:

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Jokic put the game away with four minutes left, popping back-to-back three-pointers right over leisurely Whiteside closeouts. He finished with 23 points, 13 rebounds, and two assists in just 24 minutes of play as the Nuggets won 108–100.

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