Nikola Jokic, who led the Denver Nuggets to a playoff berth Monday night, is now within striking distance of his first career-best season. Fans are hoping for another exciting year from their favorite big man at Pepsi Center this upcoming 2018 NBA campaign with improvements on both offense and defense.
Nikola Jokic is the first player in NBA history to average more than 3 points, rebounds, and assists per game. He has led the Denver Nuggets to a playoff berth this season.
DENVER (AP) — Nikola Jokic created history on the night his Denver Nuggets beat the Memphis Grizzlies 122-109 to secure their fourth straight postseason spot.
In a single season, Jokic became the first player in NBA history to score 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds, and 500 assists. On Thursday, he scored 35 points, 16 rebounds, six assists, and five steals.
Bones Hyland, a teammate, stated, “Dude is pretty good at basketball.”
Jokic’s huge game came after an unintended elbow to the right forehead and temple from Jaren Jackson Jr. that drew blood in the first minute.
Jokic wore a red headband for the rest of the game after having to retire to the bench twice to stem the bleeding. He helped the Nuggets (48-33) overcome a sluggish start to escape a season sweep at the hands of the Grizzlies.
After the game, Nuggets coach Michael Malone remarked, “The MVP isn’t even a competition.” “There are a lot of other outstanding players.” I’m not implying that they aren’t capable players. But what Nikola Jokic has accomplished this season — with this club, despite all we’ve been through — is beyond remarkable.
“He was terrific last year, and this year he’s much better.”
Despite the absence of talents Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr., the Nuggets won a top-six Western Conference playoff place and avoided the four-team play-in courtesy to another remarkable effort by the reigning MVP.
They can still win the Northwest Division with a win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday night and two defeats by the Utah Jazz (48-32), who play the Phoenix Suns and Portland Trail Blazers in the final two games. Denver’s win also guaranteed the Minnesota Timberwolves a spot in the play-in round.
For the Nuggets, Aaron Gordon added 22 points.
The Grizzlies were coming off an overtime defeat at Utah on Wednesday night after winning their first division championship and claiming the second seed in the West. Desmond Bane scored 14 points for the Grizzlies.
“I believe we’ve been playing solid basketball, especially against Utah the other night.” ‘We simply didn’t have it tonight,’ said Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins.
The main cause was Jokic.
“Jenkins stated, “We threw a lot at him.” “There’s a reason he’s the MVP. He’s almost tough to keep track of. He’ll defeat you from all angles: inside, outside, and playmaking. Tonight, he performed at a really high level.”
The Grizzlies are hoping to get All-Star guard Ja Morant back this weekend after he has been out since March 18 with a right knee injury.
After witnessing Jokic get wounded in such a crucial game for Denver, Malone expressed his worry.
“My first thought was Steve Nash and how they couldn’t stop the bleeding in that playoff series,” Malone said. “And I’m thinking to myself, ‘Of all the games, Nikola gets a really nonmalicious elbow to the head, and he’s bleeding.’
“‘Not tonight,’ I’m saying.”
Malone claimed he pleaded with his trainers to do whatever they could to stop the blood flow.
Malone responded, “Like, bring a staple gun out here.” “As then everything came to a halt, and Nikola delivered yet another MVP performance.”
However, Jokic said that he would not continue to wear the headband. He’ll defer to LeBron James for that look.
“No, I don’t look bad,” Jokic remarked. “I’m not going to let you folks see me like that again.”
Jokic acknowledged that he had a stronger season than last year, but he noted that the NBA has 20 superstars and that he isn’t pushing for another MVP title.
He responded, “If that’s enough, it’s enough.” “No, you have no control over it.”
The Nuggets gave Jokic a game ball as a memento of his historic night, but he joked that his blood-soaked headband would be sold on eBay by the trainers.
This report was supported by the Associated Press.
Nikola Jokic was the first player in NBA history to reach 2K points, 1K rebounds and 500 assists in a single season. He leads the Denver Nuggets to their playoff berth. Reference: nikola jokić rebounds per game.
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