Whether or not Nikola Jokic has been in a slump was a point of contention at Pepsi Center on Tuesday night. Joker put up 23 points on 8-13 shooting on Saturday night at San Antonio. He had 22 points on 9-16 shooting against the Warriors a week ago. Yet, for most Nuggets fans, Joker hadn’t looked like himself recently and many people, myself included, placed much of the blame on his reassignment to the power forward position alongside Mason Plumlee.
Michael Malone didn’t see it that way.
“Everyone is gonna run with the ‘Nikola played great because Mason wasn’t out there.’ I didn’t see it that way. I think Nikola played great and we played against a team that was very small and depending upon who we play, we’ll adjust our lineup. Nikola had an impact on the game, I think, no matter if he was out there with a small, a big, or if I was out there.”
I respectfully disagree with Malone on the over-arching point of Jokic’s effectiveness alongside Plumlee compared to more stretchier type forwards but whatever the reason (or reasons) for Jokic’s perceived struggles over the last couple of weeks, Jokic made the most out of his return to the starting center position. The team played through him in the post all night, starting right off of the bat in the first quarter where he scored 10 points on 7 shots.
Joker was a beast inside scoring 16 points in the paint and drawing a handful of fouls. He also dominated the glass and thew a handful of highlight-worthy assists including a silky behind the back pass for an easy Wilson Chandler finish. Joker was far and away the best player on the court tonight and the Nuggets needed every bit of it.
Check out the full highlights below.
What was Jokic’s best pass of the night?
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Behind the back dropoff in the post
Reach around kickout to Harris