Following Nikola Jokic’s stellar 40-point performance, Denver Nuggets head coach Michael Malone expressed unwavering confidence in his star player.

Malone’s emphatic endorsement of Jokic came after the Nuggets’ decisive victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves in Game 5 of their playoff series.

“He doesn’t need to be nudged, man. That’s Nikola Jokic. He’s 1-of-9, three-time MVP. I don’t have to nudge him,” Malone said postgame. “He reads the game and I trust him a thousand percent. I think when he’s being guarded one-on-one, go to work and put the team on your back.

“And what’s really neat is that just after the game I was talking with Jamal [Murray] and he said to me ‘Man, Nikola is really good.’ What an understatement. And he goes ‘Some of the shots, some of the finishes…’ And what I love about that is Jamal is really good too and for them to appreciate one another and to never take each other for granted I think is special.”

As the series heads back to Minnesota for Game 6, the Timberwolves must regroup and find a way to contain the unstoppable force that is Jokic.