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Highlights: Jokic manhandles Pacers

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Jokic helps drag the playoffs closer to reality against the Pacers

NBA: Indiana Pacers at Denver Nuggets Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

In a series of must-wins, Denver keeps eking out victories, and Nikola Jokic is leading the way in all facets. He did it again last night, putting up 30 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists to lead Denver past the Indiana Pacers. On a night where Jamal Murray and Will Barton went a combined 2-for-11 from behind the arc, Jokic also hit four threes and stretched the floor just fine all by himself.

The season started with Jokic scoring 7 points in a loss to the Utah Jazz, followed by zero points on just 3 field goals in a win against the Sacramento Kings, and immediately the questions flew. Is Jokic okay? Can this offense work? Is he really the right player to lead a team when the games get tougher?

Everyone can calm down about that. If the stretch run in a tight race is a crucible that separates the real from the fake, Jokic is proving to be the real deal.

Jokic also happened to tie Danilo Gallinari for the most 30-point games by a Nugget since the Carmelo Anthony era with his eleventh. Interestingly, Jamal Murray already has eight, one behind Ty Lawson for second place during that timeframe. Neither man is likely to catch Carmelo, who had 163 such games, but it’s nice to know that Denver has multiple players with the willingness to put the game on their shoulders when required.

Early in the season - and frankly in his career - the knock on Jokic has been that he’s too passive at important times. Down the stretch that will determine whether Denver’s season is a success or not, that problem has vanished, and Denver will be better for it not just this year but for years to come.

Take a look!

***STIFFS NIGHT OUT***

The Celtic on Market

1400 Market St. Denver

1:30 Tip-off

Join us this Saturday for our final Denver Nuggets watch party of the season. We’ll be joined by Super Mascot Rocky, the Denver Nuggets Dancers, Nuggets in-arena host, Katy Winge, and lots of Nuggets fans as we watch the Nuggets take on the Clippers. There will be ticket giveaways and prizes like signed merch, jerseys, posters, and more. Come check it out and bring your friends!