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Game Grades

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DENVER, Colo. — The Broncos got back into the win column on Sunday, taking down the Cardinals 24-15. Both teams are now 4-10. Here’s how the Broncos graded out: Offense QB Brett Rypien – B- The Broncos’ backup quarterback did everything you could ask of him. He guided Denver’s offense admirably in the second half, and he scored 24 points,…...

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Nikola Jokić – A- Jokić picked up his first triple-double of the new campaign Friday as the Nuggets grabbed a road win against the defending champs. He spent much of the first half in cruise control while Denver was rolling, but he re-committed himself to the glass after a failure in Utah. As the game grew closer and time wound…

Dryden Hunt – INC We’ve always said in this space that we aren’t grading guys when they play under five minutes. Hunt got to Denver about 3 AM and had a short video session and one morning skate to figure it all out. It’s no wonder he only played 4:27. Bowen Byram – A- Defensively, Byram was very good in…...

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Nikola Jokić – A+ The threes are falling again for Jokić. That’s a critical development if the Nuggets are to make history. He’s shooting confidently and figuring Draymond Green out on the other end. Jokić looks like the best player in the series now, and he leads the playoffs in points per game after dropping 37 in game four. He…...

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The Denver Nuggets finally played with pride, but they lacked composure in the clutch, and the rest of the series is but a formality now. Here’s the report card from Game 3 in Ball. Nikola Jokić – A+ Nikola Jokić played like an MVP in Game 3. He scored on Kevon Looney, Draymond Green, and anyone in his way. He…...

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Nikola Jokić – B- The calls aren’t coming through two, and Jokić isn’t dominating Draymond Green the way Denver needs him to. There should be better options than one-on-one with one of the best defenders of all time, but it’s Denver’s best shot, and Jokić hasn’t figured it out yet. They might not win even if they do, and, of…...

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Nicolas Aube-Kubel – B My problem with NAK has too often been his biggest contribution being in the first period and then he just does nothing. Not the case tonight. I really liked his game throughout and his physicality showed why he is a legitimate option for the lineup in the postseason. He can handle that kind of game. Andre…...

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Nikola Jokić – B- The Golden State Warriors debuted their Death Lineup 3.0 against the Denver Nuggets, and the group excelled in a short stint. With the back-to-back MVP at center, Golden State should feel reluctant to go small against Denver, but they felt confident in Draymond Green’s ability to defend Nikola Jokić, and they were right to feel that…...

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Nicolas Aube-Kubel – D I don’t really have much on NAK tonight. It was a quiet night but when you spend the entire game in your own zone defending, it’s tough to make too much of a mark, I suppose. Andre Burakovsky – C I really liked Burakovsky last night but tonight was really all the bad stuff in his…...

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Headband Jokić – A+ As far as suboptimal starts to Nuggets games go, Jokić suffering a deep cut on his head and bleeding on the floor is up there. But that’s how the Nuggets began a night that ended gloriously. Jokić hit the sideline for treatment, briefly returned before opening up again, and ultimately settled on a headband to cover…...

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Nikola Jokić – A Jokić went right at Jakob Poeltl, and though he missed some bunnies, he finished with 17 points in the first quarter and put the Spurs’ starting big man in foul trouble. Jokić stayed aggressive, finishing with a career-high 35 shot attempts. But between that workload, what he had to do defensively, and the lack of rest…...

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Nikola Jokić – A Something looked a little off with Nikola Jokić in the first quarter. He scored an efficient 10 points and grabbed seven rebounds, but he turned it over five times in his first 8:30 on the floor. Jokić has struggled against the Dwight Howard/Anthony Davis pairing. It’s not just that he looks less dominant, he can also…...

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Nikola Jokić – A+ Jokić rose to the occasion. He went right at Karl Anthony Towns in the opening possession, then weathered an early storm as KAT couldn’t miss. Neither center could, and thankfully, Jokić was able to get Towns in some foul trouble. That kept Denver alive despite a near-perfect opening quarter from the Wolves on offense. Though Towns…...

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Nikola Jokić – C+ Jokić turned it over eight times and only took ten shots despite hitting nine of them. After an aggressive first quarter, he shifted down to a deferential gear. He chose last-second passes over his floater and was reluctant to shoot a mid-range shot that rarely misses. It was strange to see such high-level basketball, featuring contributions…...

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Nikola Jokić – A The Clippers left their foot off the gas in the first half. Jokić drew a lot of attention, and occasional tentative double-teams, but for the most part, the Clippers shelved their blueprint for stopping the reigning MVP. He scored 17 points on 5 of 7 shooting in the first half. He was aggressive, not just as…...

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Nikola Jokić – C+ Jokić put this one on his shoulders after the game. He wore it, admitting the Celtics defended him well, and what he thought were “easy scores” turned out to be anything but easy. The Celtics doubled him with size and length, forcing Jokić to speed himself up to avoid dangerous traps. Rarely does he play at…...

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Nikola Jokić – A- It happened again. In the fourth quarter and overtime period, the Nuggets couldn’t get the ball to Jokić, which cost them a 3-0 road trip. There must be a solution here—the first layer is Denver’s surrounding cast should be able to punish the overload, and they can’t. The second is coaching—is Denver content to post…...

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Nikola Jokić – A+ Nikola Jokić reached the 10,000 points, 5,000 rebounds, and 3,000 assists mark in the second-fewest games in NBA history. It took him one more (516) than Larry Bird (515), but Jokić accomplished the feat in 4,000 fewer minutes than the legend. He’s made it look easy so far, just as he did against the Wizards Wednesday…...

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