It was Jokic’s right wrist that mattered in the wake of Friday’s loss to Chicago, not even the pro-Bulls audience or the Nuggets’ three-match losing streak.
Dressed in a tan suit and a black brace on his right wrist, Nikola Jokic was reduced to a mere cheerleader after sustaining a wrist sprain in Thursday’s defeat to Philadelphia, and casinoroo.io still covered the odds for that game. Denver Nuggets coach Michael Malone ruled Jokic out before the match began after both coach and player had dismissed the injury issue late on Thursday.
Coach Malone said after the Nuggets fell 114-108 to Chicago, "He’s got a sore wrist, he was out tonight. He’s gotten X-rays, he’s gotten MRIs, talking to the doctors. I don’t think it’s going to be a long-term thing at all, but at the same time, I don’t want to put him out there if he can only play with one hand. Unfair to ask him to do that. When he’s ready to play, he’ll play. That could be against Phoenix, that could be in a week. There’s no timeline at this point."
Without Nikola Jokic, the Bulls punished Denver Nuggets on the glass. They had about 17 offensive rebounds that led to 18 points directly. The rebounding battle – always a reflection of good work and strongly correlated to the eventual result – was heavily in favor of Chicago, 50-38.
The presence of Jokic would’ve shored up some of the deflating possessions in the team that led to Chicago’s victory.
Without Nikola Jokic as the anchor at the back, coach Malone said the team played more zone than they had all through the season. He was delighted with the results, even though they left Denver Nuggets vulnerable on the boards.
P.J. Dozier said, after finishing with a team-high 10 rebounds, "That’s our offense, we play through him. He’s the head of the snake. We go as he goes. Having our MVP not on the floor, of course, offensively is going to be an adjustment but defensively as well. He’s communicating to us guards, calling out the coverages. It was definitely an adjustment."
Instead, Nugget coach Malone ended the contest with Gordon at the center, a role he confirmed he was very comfortable playing.
"I’m not sure how long Nikola’s going to be out, but you have options," Malone concluded.
Even though Jamal Murray and Jokic were stuck on the sidelines, both stars were engaged, almost like assistant team coaches.
Gordon said, "It just goes to show how much those guys love the game, and how great of teammates they are and how great of people they are, … There’s no replacing an MVP, and really there’s no replacing Jamal. Either of those guys. For them to still be engaged throughout the entire game, you know, if they can do it, everybody can do it."
For a while in the third quarter of the Bulls’ 114-108 victory over the Nuggets on Friday, the Pepsi Center in Denver sounded like Chicago Bulls’ United Center and from the looks of it, the game might be featured on online casino platforms.
The echo of "Let’s go, Bulls" filled the entire arena, dousing the Nuggets’ home ground with a wave of Bulls pride. The chants began shortly after Derrick Jones Jr. tried to rip the rim off the backboard.