Sports

Nikola Jokic seals Nuggets overtime victory vs. Clippers with monster 49-point triple-double

Reigning MVP Nikola Jokic has quietly been putting up quite the season in Denver and on Monday night against the Clippers, he did more of the same.

In fact, he might have outdone himself and played one of his best games of the season. He not only led the Nuggets back from a 15-point second-half deficit but also led from the front in overtime including setting up the game-winning play.

With the game on the line – Nuggets trailing 128-127 in the final seconds of overtime – double-teamed, Jokic throws a crosscourt pass nearly 50 feet away to Aaron Gordon for the game-winning triple. 

Superhuman stuff right there from the Serbian big man.

That assist was Jokic’s 10 of the game, giving him a third consecutive triple-double. He finished with a final monster stat line of 49 points, 14 rebounds, 10 assists and three steals while shooting 16-of-25 from the field and a near-perfect 14-of-16 from the free-throw line. 

The season-high tally of 49 points is the fourth-most in a triple-double by a center in NBA history but it’s Jokic’s impact in key game-winning key stretches that emphasizes his impact.

Over the final 9:20 minutes of the third quarter, when the Nuggets fought back from 70-55 down to tie things up heading into the fourth quarter, Jokic scored (14) or assisted on 16 of their 26-11 run. Then, in overtime, he scored (11) or assisted on 14 of the team’s 16 points including the game-winning 3-pointer.

“Do you guys understand how much attention he gets? He gets double and triple-teamed all game and has 49 points,” Nuggets head coach Michael Malone said postgame. “If Nikola Jokic isn’t the MVP, then who is?”

For the season, Jokic is averaging 25.9 points, a career-high 13.9 rebounds and 7.4 rebounds while shooting a career-high 56.9 percent from the field through 38 games. These are great numbers to defend your MVP title as proved by his standing on key rankings – 1st as ESPN’s PER and 1st on Basketball Reference’s MVP tracker.

But that’s not all. It’s his impact while on the floor. When he’s on the court, the Nuggets’ net rating is a +10.0 but that slumps to a -12.3 when he sits which has got to be the biggest differential among the league’s biggest superstars this season. 

While on the face of it, the Nuggets’ 23-20 record might not be helping his case but actually, since they are missing two of their core players in Jamal Murray (missed all games) and Michael Porter Jr. (missed 34 games), it adds to his MVP case. 



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