(Photo via: Bart Young/NBAE via Getty Images)
Jokic ties Kareem for 21 career triple-doubles as Nuggets win 11th straight at home.
The Denver Nuggets (28-12) cruised to a victory against the Los Angeles Clippers (24-17) 121-100. Nikola Jokic had another triple-double with his 18-14-10 performance while Jamal Murray had a team-high 23 points, but this was a balanced team performance with six players in double figures.
In Danilo Gallinari’s first official return to Denver as an active player he finished with 18 points, yet was a -21 in the box score.
Malik Beasley looked much more comfortable in his second start of the season. He knocked down his first look from three, effectively setting the floor spacing tone, and one possession later drove to the pain and put up the floater to give the Nuggets an early five point lead.
Beasley’s fast start tonight got the Nuggets out to a 25-16 lead that ignited the home crowd and gave the Nuggets the home momentum that they needed. Mason Plumlee provided the highlights to end the first quarter with a series of defensive plays, reverses, and of course the Kareem and Magic-like sky hook.
This was a game of balance for the Nuggets, and it needed to be against a Clippers team that dominates with their second unit in the game. While the second unit was better for the Clippers and did manage to make the game closer, the Nuggets used a combination of Mason Plumlee, Monte Morris, and Jamal Murray to stymie the Clippers run to hold an 11 point halftime lead.
The Nuggets took a burst of energy from the crowd after announcing Broncos Von Miller and Phillip Lindsay with an immediate Paul Millsap monster dunk.
That play was followed by an impressive run of Nuggets scoring plays and defensive stops. Jokic corralled a rebound one-handed and without switching hands turned to sling the ball full court to Jamal Murray for the dunk.
In something that is becoming commonplace against the Clippers, Nikola Jokic started to get heated in the mid-third quarter. Even as the Nuggets were pulling away there were some questionable calls and situations that Jokic took exception to. In the end Jokic finished with a seven-point quarter before the Nuggets inserted some reserves.
The reserves continued to get the job done. Even with the daunting task of having to defend Boban in pick and roll coverage presented itself the Nuggets continued to pile on their lead, eventually getting it up to a 17-point lead by the end of the quarter.
The Nuggets second unit didn’t take their foot off the gas in the early fourth quarter as the Clippers searched for any sort of answer, but it was clear that this one was heading towards blowout garbage time in a hurry.
Still, Nikola Jokic checked back into the game, needing one assist to secure his second straight triple-double. Depending on what scoring rules you follow, Jokic may have done that on this nifty all-star-style pass to himself, but in reality it only took a couple of other plays to find Trey Lyles sprinting down the right side to lay in the ball off the glass.
By the end of this one the Nuggets had the Clippers so agitated that Patrick Beverly picked up a one-tech ejection during the final timeout before garbage time. Jamal Murray’s free throw put the Nuggets up 22 as they rode to their 21 point victory.
The Nuggets will now have to pick up and prepare for another back-to-back this one coming at the end of a series of three games in four nights ending back at the Pepsi Center against Portland followed by a Tuesday night matchup with the Golden State Warriors.