Nikola Jokić Had Perfect Horse-Racing Quote to Sum Up Game 4 Loss to Lakers

Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports

The Denver Nuggets couldn’t make it a full sweep of the Los Angeles Lakers in the first-round playoff series on Saturday night, but Game 4’s 119-108 loss did at least give a few Nuggets players the opportunity to reflect on the series so far.

In the postgame press conference, Nuggets star Nikola Jokić shared his thoughts on his team’s performance and couldn’t help adding a kernel of horse-racing wisdom.

When asked about Denver’s slow starts through four games of the series, Jokić said, “Of course we want to win, but I learned in horse racing it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish. We didn’t finish today very well, so hopefully we can do a better job.”

Prior to Game 4, the Nuggets came back from three consecutive double-digit deficits to win the first three games of the series. A recent stunning statistic revealed that as a whole, the Lakers have led the series for 136 minutes while the Nuggets have led the series for just under 42 minutes—yet Denver still owns the clear upper hand with a 3-1 advantage.

Facing a first-round elimination and another embarrassing sweep, the Lakers were desperate for a lifeline on Saturday and got it, winning their first game against the defending champions since December 2022. LeBron James led the late surge scoring 14 of his 30 points in the fourth quarter, and Anthony Davis added 25 points and a playoff career-high-tying 23 rebounds.

Jokić enjoyed another efficient night in Game 4 with 33 rebounds, 14 rebounds and 14 assists, but the same couldn’t be said for his teammates, who visibly struggled against the Lakers’ physical and gritty defense.

The Nuggets will look to clinch the series in Game 5 on Monday.

Kristen Wong


Kristen Wong is a Staff Writer on the Breaking & Trending News Team at Sports Illustrated. She has been a sports journalist since 2020. Before joining SI, Kristen covered four NFL teams as an associate editor with the FanSided NFL Network and worked as a staff writer for the brand’s flagship site. She has written about soccer, the NFL, NBA, and MLB since 2020, and outside of work, has dreams of running her own sporty dive bar.