It took Nikola Jokić all of 15 seconds to get his first bucket of the 2021-22 season.
From the opening tip, the Joker was locked in and as impactful as ever, scoring 27 points, grabbing 13 rebounds, and picking up two assists and two steals along the way. It wasn’t a high level passing night for the Serbian big man, but he certainly brought it as a scorer, keeping the Denver Nuggets within striking distance and then helping put the game away in the fourth quarter with some tough finishes around the rim. His efforts helped lead the Nuggets to their first win of the season over Deandre Ayton and the Phoenix Suns.
The key bucket of the night came at the end of the second quarter. With the Nuggets trailing the Suns by 10 points, Jokić and Will Barton ran a pick and pop that Jokić splashed for a buzzer beating three, cutting the deficit to seven points going into the half. The Nuggets stayed attached and used that momentum to propel them to a lead in the third quarter that they would never relinquish. Jokić made timely shots throughout each of the four quarters, and his ability to convert difficult looks against a great post defender in Ayton helped lead the Nuggets to an important road win.
Make sure to check out the highlights of Jokić’s first game of the season!