Unless you’ve been pulling a Patrick Star and living under a rock, I’m sure that you know by now that Nikola Jokic is the greatest thing ever. Our Serbian Superstar has been dominating the court since he was placed in the starting lineup back on December 15th. After sitting out the last three games due to a hip flexor strain, Nikola returned tonight and helped to lead his team to a victory over the Milwaukee Bucks. Not only did the Nuggets get the W, but The Joker recorded his first ever career triple double. I don’t know about you, but I’ve anxiously watched every single game to see if he hits his trip-dub and it finally happened. I know that plenty of you are just as proud as I am.
The Bucks came into the Mile High City wanting to win after only winning one of their last ten games. The Nuggets lost their last two games and were determined to get the W at home before setting off to San Antonio for a tough matchup.
Wilson Chandler, who had been rumored to want to be traded out of Denver, led his team to victory in the absence of Danilo Gallinari. Chandler finished with 23 points, 8 rebounds and 3 assists in 41 minutes followed by Jokic with 20 points, 13 rebounds, and 11 assists in 32 minutes (he was on a 25-28 minute restriction). The Nuggets and Bucks were all tied up at 31 at the end of the first. By the end of the second quarter, the Nuggets outscored the Bucks 39-22 (going on a 26-9 run in the last 6:06 before the half). After halftime, the Bucks outscored the Nuggets 36-28 in the third and 28-23 in the fourth but it wasn’t enough. The Bucks were led by Jabari Parker and his 27 points, 11 rebounds, and 3 assists and Giannis Antetokounmpo with 23 points, 8 rebounds, and 5 assists.
During the second half of the game, backup center Jusuf Nurkic was not on the bench. When asked about it after the game, this is what Coach Malone had to say:
“I had no idea. I just got back from the locker room. Obviously I’m so focused on trying to get the win but he just stayed in the locker room. I think maybe he was getting treatment on his knee, his foot, but to be very honest, I had no idea until I got back in when the trainer said he was in the locker room for the second half.
The Nuggets know that the month of February is no easy task for them but with Nikola Jokic and the soon-to-be return of Danilo Gallinari, anything is possible with this Nuggets team.
FG%: 44.9% 54.2%
3PT%: 32.1% 37.5%
FT: 72.7% 78.3%
Rebounds: 48 38
Assists: 31 26
Steals: 7 9
Blocks: 5 13
Turnovers: 15 18
Fast Break Points: 14 19
Points in Paint: 52 62
The Nuggets next game will be on Saturday night in the San Antonio against the Spurs.
Tipoff is at 7 PM MST.