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Brendan Vogt

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Nikola Jokić – A+ We’ve been waiting to see Jokić kick it back into sixth gear. We were due for a reminder game. He’s excellent night and night out, but now and then, when the Nuggets need it most, he reminds us all what the best player in the world can do. The Nuggets were dead in the water entering…...

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Nikol—er, DeMarcus Cousins – A+ Late in the afternoon, hours before tip-off, Michael Malone learned Nikola Jokić might not play against the Houston Rockets with a non-Covid related illness. He and the staff thought long and hard about breaking up a bench unit that’s on a roll, but they settled on Cousins, a proven big at the NBA level. Boogie…...

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Nikola Jokić – C- Let’s address what was out of Jokić’s control first. His fellow starters literally could not knock down a three. The lone three from any starter came when AG connected on a Hall Of Fame Bad Beat at the end of the game, which we’ll address later. But the gang shot 0-24 prior, which helps explain Jokić’s…...

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Nikola Jokić – A Jokić is a fascinating player and an important one in the history of this game. As we move further from the era of scoring > everything, Jokić is lighting the league on fire in his way. Sure, he’s arguably the most efficient scorer in the world right now, but that’s seemingly reluctant—a by-product of Denver’s process…...

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Nikola Jokić – B- Jokić did not play up to his standard for about three quarters. After receiving a relatively favorable whistle in the first, he committed to a foul-drawing approach, then committed to showing his discontentment to a struggling referee crew. Just days ago, over All-Star weekend, the big fella told the broadcast that the next step for him…...

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Nikola Jokić – B- Jokić faced significant resistance from Wendell Carter Jr., who embraced the lenient whistled afforded to physical defenders when checking the reigning MVP. Jokić couldn’t buy a call or, for some stretches, a bucket down low, ultimately reverting to the uninspiring trigger-happy approach from deep. He also nearly matched his seven assists with five turnovers. It was…...

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Nikola Jokić – A “I’ll take this,” Jokić said, striding across the locker room and taking the DPOG chain from Michael Malone before he could even announce the winner. No one objected. Jokić had just logged his third game-winning block of the season. There’s a warm irony to how adjusted we’re becoming to the celebration — his teammates mobbing him…...

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Nikola Jokić – B- Big Honey never woke up from his proverbial slumber for the Knicks game. Maybe he could tell his teammates had the juice. Perhaps he was a little tired. Or, closer to the realm of unthinkable these days, it’s possible Jokić simply didn’t have it against New York. It verged on a lousy performance by his new,…...

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Nikola Jokić – A Jokić was in complete control Sunday afternoon, responding to Malone’s challenge of shooting more by leading all Nuggets points, field goal attempts, rebounds, and assists. He recorded yet another triple-double. Jokić and Kyrie Irving went toe-to-toe in the second quarter, each putting up 14 points, with Jokić shooting 6 of 6 from the field and dishing…...

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Nikola Jokić – B Jokić dropped 25, 12, and 9 in under 35 minutes, which wasn’t good enough. His defense was porous, his turnovers were ugly, and he was too tentative, only getting 1o shots up. In his defense, he did get to the free-throw line, and he was deferring to hot hands — the Nuggets shot the ball well…...

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Will Barton – C- Barton couldn’t buy a shot when Denver needed him to emerge as their leading scorer. He almost made up for it with impressive defense on Bojan Bogdanovic, who also struggled from the floor, and by grabbing nine rebounds — the most of any Nuggets player. But that hustle was marred by five turnovers, some of which took…...

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Nikola Jokić – B+ Jokić took only 12 shots and turned it over five times. His line, the game, and this excerpt might all look different had his teammates knocked down shots around him as they did in Milwaukee, but while we’re juxtaposing, Jokić never took control of this game as he did against the defending champs. He was good…...

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Nikola Jokić – A+ Jokić wanted that one. He’ll tell you he wants all of them, and on some level, that is, of course, true. But it’s not always reflected in his approach. He came out swinging in Milwaukee. Jokić posted 3 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, and 3 steals in the first 5 minutes of action and his teammates…...

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Nikola Jokić – A- If near 30-point triple-doubles are the baseline—and we’re getting there—then we have to change our rubric for Jokić. He’s been divine over his last eight games, and of those performances, this one relatively felt lacking. Maybe that’s because of his six turnovers, or perhaps it was his early foul trouble. More likely, I’m just spoiled. After…...

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Nikola Jokić – A- That was probably Jokić’s worst performance in his last seven games. I only bother to frame it that way because, of course, he was spectacular, leading both teams in points, rebounds, and assists. Early foul trouble — his own doing, courtesy of the wretched EuroFoul — limited his minutes in the first half, where he limited…...

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Nikola Jokić – A The Denver Nuggets could not stop turning the ball over, but they did have Nikola Jokić and thus emerged victorious from Little Caesars Arena. Jokić has evolved in a rebounding deity, inhaling rim-debris like a sentient black hole. He racked up 21 in Detroit, impressive in its own right, but of course, he tacked on 28…...

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Nikola Jokić – A+ Jokić posted 34, 9, and 8, which might be his worst line in the last six games. The Big Man is operating on another level right now, looking a markedly better player than the one who threw his hat in the ring for Best Player Alive last season. The Pistons opted against the hard double team.…...

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Nikola Jokić – A There were moments when Jokić could have applied more pressure. Fresh off his most insistent performance as a scorer, Jokić reverted to cerebral mode against Memphis. That costs him a better grade here, but I recognize I’m nitpicking at a hyper-efficient triple-double, Jokić’s fourth straight. He finished with 26 points, 11 rebounds, 12 assists, 2 steals,…...

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Nikola Jokić – A+ The Clippers know precisely how to defend this iteration of the Denver Nuggets, and they knew exactly how to steal a game in Ball Arena. They game-planned well and executed well, but Jokić denied them the prize with a fury-fueled scoring fest in the second half. The Nuggets looked dead in the water at halftime. The…...

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Nikola Jokić – A  Jokić was tremendous against the Jazz, who fell back into the strategy of drastic staggering and tons of Rudy Gobert minutes alongside the second unit. The Jazz had no answer for Jokić once he actually caught the ball, but that proved distressingly tricky for the Nuggets once again. Denver’s starters did enough to win their minutes…...

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