He's like Tom Brady! - Millsap talks up Jokic showing in Nuggets win

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Paul Millsap likened Nikola Jokic to New England Patriots star Tom Brady after the Serbian led the Denver Nuggets to victory over the Portland Trail Blazers in Game 1 of their second-round playoff series.

Just two days after defeating the San Antonio Spurs in Game 7, Jokic put up 37 points in the 121-113 victory, making 11 of 18 shots and all 12 free throws to go with six assists and nine rebounds.

Jokic clocked up an impressive 41-and-a-half minutes after playing 43-and-a-half against the Spurs, and Millsap said his team-mate's ability to always make the right decision is similar to legendary NFL quarterback Brady.

"He's a sponge," he said. "He picks it up. He sees how people are playing him and guarding him and he makes the right play every time. 

"That's what's great about him, he doesn't force anything. Everything is going to be the right play. He's going to make the right reads. He's like a quarterback out there.

"I consider him like a Tom Brady, he's always going to pick you apart and make the right reads. I commend him for doing that at this stage in his career. It's unbelievable."

On his performance, Jokic added: "I was a little bit more aggressive. We found a way to win the game. That's the most important thing."

Nuggets coach Michael Malone was impressed with the way his team managed to go again so quickly after an emotional win over the Spurs.

"Saturday night, an emotional high, winning a Game 7, that was part of my biggest concern about tonight," he said. 

"Obviously you're worried about guarding them but how would we react from that emotional hangover? I thought our guys did a pretty good job."

Damian Lillard, who starred for the Trail Blazers in their series win over the Oklahoma City Thunder, had a game-high 39 points but also finished with six turnovers and missed eight of his 12 three-point attempts.

One boost for the Trail Blazers was the sight of Enes Kanter putting up 26 points after separating his left shoulder against the Thunder.

"Enes was terrific, very efficient, finished around the basket playing through the shoulder injury," Blazers coach Terry Stotts said. 

"I couldn't have asked any more of him."