An answer for everything
One game after they each posted a 30-plus-point triple-double while combining for 66 points on 43 shots to lead their team to a win on a night where they got almost nothing from their non-Christian Braun teammates, Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray shot a combined 13 of 36 from the floor and totaled just 38 points in Game 4. And yet, the Nuggets won going away, and they once again scored in excess of 120 points per 100 possessions — their third time doing so in the four games of this series.
They were able to pull this off because the Nuggets are, at this point, a team that has an answer for everything. Double Jokic? They can handle it. Blitz Murray on pick and rolls? They can handle it. Turn Jokic into a scorer? They can handle it. Pressure the ball-handler in the backcourt to throw off their rhythm? They can handle it. Lay off Aaron Gordon and Bruce Brown? They can handle it. Run KCP and MPJ off the 3-point line? They can handle it. Relentlessly attack Jokic at the rim? They can handle it. Drag Murray or Porter into space so they have to guard one-on-one? They can (mostly) handle it. Show them new actions and force miscommunications, then try to do the same in subsequent games? They can handle it. Get Jokic in foul trouble early in the fourth quarter? They can handle it.
They can handle it because over the course of a few years, they identified the exact right type of players to work alongside their star duo, and landed them at almost exclusively steal prices. They took advantage of injury uncertainty to take a high-upside swing on Michael Porter Jr. in the draft, because they could afford to chase that kind of risk due to the talent already on the roster. They turned a longtime core player (Gary Harris), another dice-roll first-rounder (R.J. Hampton), and future draft capital into Aaron Gordon, who could not possibly be a more perfect fit next to MPJ and Jokic in the frontcourt if he were literally designed in a lab to be exactly that. They turned their backup point guard (Monte Morris) and an energetic bench scorer (Will Barton) into one of the league’s best three-and-D wings in Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who perfectly complements Murray in the backcourt. And when he for some reason went unsigned on the first day of free agency last summer, they went out and signed Bruce Brown to just do everything off the bench.