There are no silver linings in a loss to the division, but if the Denver Nuggets could take anything away from their first game after the All-Star break, it was that Nikola Jokic is playing his best basketball.
The Thunder won this game 113-101 over the Nuggets, but while Jokic was out there, the score was close to even in the plus-minus department. That was almost entirely due to Jokic himself, who finished the game with 32 points on 12-of-15 from the field, 7 rebounds, and 5 assists. Jokic had 19 points in the first half alone, thoroughly dominating his matchup with center Steven Adams. He scored on a variety of post moves, jumpers, and rebound put backs to keep Denver close in this one.
Jokic has been the one constant in Denver’s rotation this year, starting every single game, playing big minutes, and upping his performance as the months go on. As the Nuggets round into form during the rest of the regular season, they need their best players to bring it every night. If performances like tonight are any indication, that will be no problem for the Joker.