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Nikola Jokic's near triple-double paces Nuggets to third-straight win

Harrison Wind Avatar
December 20, 2016

 

DENVER — Nikola Jokic is officially back.

After starting the season playing out of position at power forward, then moving to the bench in a reserve role where he was seldom reaching 25 minutes of playing time a night, Jokic has summited the figurative mountain he’s been climbing over the course of Denver’s 28 regular season games.

A near triple-double; 27 points, 15 rebounds and nine assists, put a cap on what’s been a critical three-game win streak and homestand for the Denver Nuggets who topped the Dallas Mavericks 117-107, moved to 12-16 on the year and within a half-game of the Portland Trailblazers who currently occupy the eighth seed in the Western Conference.

“He goes out there gets 27, 15 and nine.” Michael Malone said of Jokic. “He’s a hell of a player and when we play through him, good things happen, so I’m very happy and proud of him.”

After falling behind 48-32 at the 8:52 mark of the second quarter, Jokic started to make an imprint on tonight’s game.

The Nuggets closed the half on a 28-10 run, powered by Jokic and Gary Harris, who has emerged as Denver’s second-most important player over the past few games.

Harris finished with a season-high 24 points on 9-13 shooting and went 4-6 from three in 33 minutes.

“Three games back and I don’t think it’s a coincidence that we’ve won three games in a row,” Malone said of Harris. “His ability to give us offense, he goes 9-13 from the field 24 points, four assists and he embraces the challenge of guarding bigger and stronger guys. Defense wasn’t there most of the night but I can say fourth-quarter defense did show up.”

As Dallas showed signs of life in the fourth and trimmed Denver’s lead to six at 107-101 with 3:44 left in the final frame, it was Jokic again, who put the game away for good.

Five straight points, two coming on a confident 19-foot jumper and then a strong finish on what should have been a three-point play down low, put the Nuggets up for good.

It was another night where Denver flexed their muscles on offense. For the third-straight game, the Nuggets scored over 117 points.

Emmanuel Mudiay finished with 18 points on 7-11 shooting, five rebounds, and seven assists. Wilson Chandler, who played an outstanding two-way game, scored 17 points to go with eight rebounds. Danilo Gallinari added 14 points as well meaning all five Nuggets’ starters scored in double-figures for the third-straight game.

“This is three games in a row where we’ve been able to offensively, play really well,” Malone said. “The defense isn’t where it needs to be, it’s been somewhat inconsistent and sporadic.”

For Dallas, Deron Williams finished with a team-high 23 points.

Jokic on his career night

WHERE/WHEN

Pepsi Center, Denver, Colorado | Monday, Dec. 19, 2016

BY THE NUMBERS

screen-shot-2016-12-19-at-9-29-39-pm screen-shot-2016-12-19-at-9-29-44-pm

PLAYS OF THE GAME

Chandler gets the Nuggets off to a good start

Barton pulling up

Good think happen when Jokic touches the ball

Harris from deep

Mudiay, then Harris from deep

Mudiay from distance….again

Blue Arrow from three

Chandler coming up big in the fourth

WHATS NEXT

Denver has a tough three games up next. They take on the Clippers in Los Angeles Tuesday night, then come home for Atlanta before traveling back to Southern California to face the Clippers again a week from tonight.

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