“He’s such a humble guy, that sometimes he looks for me to do things,” Millsap said of Jokic. “And it’s him. He’s our team. He makes a lot of things go for us. He’s got to continue to stay aggressive, and I’m here to help him and back him in any way possible.”
Malone is hopeful Wednesday’s loss to Cleveland can still serve as a turning point of sorts. Jokic rebounded from three consecutive single-digit scoring outputs to score 36 points on 12-of-14 shooting to go with 13 rebounds and six assists. Millsap complemented with 12 points, including two key 3-pointers as Denver staged a second-half comeback. Malone reinforced that Jokic, who enters Friday’s game against the Lakers averaging 17.1 points, 10.5 rebounds and six assists per game, does not need to compile that level of eye-popping stats every game. But the coach wants Jokic to bring a mentality to attack and score when he gets the ball in the post, then make a play for an open teammate if a double-team arrives.
“Nikola is our guy and he has to be the focal point,” Malone said. “And from that focal point, everybody else gets theirs …
“Stop being so sensitive of, ‘Am I going to hurt anybody’s (feelings)?’ … We can’t afford any more of, ‘Is it OK if I shoot it?’ Just play the game, man. And if you make the right play, good things are gonna happen for us.”