Despite the hip injury that could seriously affect Will Barton’s season, tonight was a good game for Denver’s offense. The Nuggets played a young Suns team featuring a rookie center in Deandre Ayton and his backup Tyson Chandler, and Nikola Jokic dismantled both men, on both ends of the floor. He logged 35 points, 12 rebounds, 11 assists, 4 steals and a block in 31 minutes to notch his first triple double of the season. As our own Adam Mares said in the final minutes:
It's a fairly meaningless game in October but this was one of the most complete games Jokic has played. Perfect from the field. Solid defense. And the leadership was very noticeable. Demanded the ball. Ran the show. 33-10-10-3-1. No turnovers. 11-11 FG.— Adam Mares (@Adam_Mares) October 21, 2018
It’s a cruel irony that Will Barton and Jokic had such great chemistry in the first half of this game. You’ll see both a Jokic-to-Barton assist and a Barton-to-Jokic one in this highlight package. The two worked off of each other well in Barton’s new starting role, and it will be a shame to shelve that for however long Barton winds up on the mend. Hopefully things will look better for his situation once all the medicals come in, but in the meantime enjoy Joker dishing, rebounding and scoring from everywhere over his bewildered and helpless defenders.
This is the Jokic that Denver will need to make the playoffs, and he looks like his shooting touch and aggressive mentality have both returned in full force.
Take a look!
Watch: Nikola speaks with the media following his historic performance.