The Denver Nuggets came out on top against the Oklahoma City Thunder as they dominated them to win the match 119-101 on Tuesday night. It was their star centre Nikola Jokic who was the main man as he scored 27 points and also notched up 12 rebounds and six assists.
The Nuggets have not been in the same form that they were in the bubble last season. However, Jokic has been their standout performance and he has only gone from strength to strength this season. Mainly known for his playmaking, the Serbian has now worked hard and developed a lot on his scoring. In the 14 games this season, Jokic averages 25.1 points, 10 assists, and 11.4 rebounds per game and if he continues this form then he will be the first centre since Wilt Chamberlain to average triple-double.
With performances like these, Jokic is well on the running for the MVP title as well. Coach Mike Malone has also revealed how he has trusted him with most of the ball and has also worked on his scoring this season. In the post-game interview, when coach Malone was asked about how he has motivated Jokic, Malone had a very funny reaction. He said, “I locked him in my office one day and I beat him with a pillowcase full of soda cans and said that you got to score more. He is a great player and he is playing at an MVP level.”
Malone and Jokic will feel that their season can kickstart with this win and they find a string of good results this season. The Nuggets have not had two wins in a row out of the 14 games they have played. If they want to be the top three seed in the West which is filled with top teams, they have to pick up their game or it will slip away in no time.
Jokic has made it pretty clear that he is the main man for this Nuggets side but his teammate Jamal Murray has also proven his mettle in last season’s playoffs where he averaged 26.5 points, 6.6 assists, and 4.8 rebounds. Murray showed his superstar potential and if he can replicate that form from the Bubble this season then the Nuggets will finish in the top three seed in the West. For now, the Canadian has improved on his regular-season output but it is not by a huge margin.
Murray’s form will be crucial for the Nuggets this season as it will decide whether they will finish in the top three. Mike Malone’s side have already lost the output from players like Jerami Grant and Mason Plumlee who were primary rotation player and hence Murray’s role will be all the more crucial.