The Joker just keeps finding new ways to strengthen his MVP case.
On a night where nobody truly had it going for the first three quarters, Nikola Jokić dragged the Denver Nuggets to the fourth quarter and a victory against Damian Lillard, Enes Kanter, and the Portland Trail Blazers, scoring 41 points on 17-of-32 from the field, capped off by a euro step dunk driving past Enes Kanter and around Derrick Jones Jr.’s outstretched arms.
Jokić added just five rebounds and five assists, a pedestrian outing for someone of his caliber, but let’s focus on the 32 shot attempts. On a night in which Denver struggled to get their offense going and hit open shots, Jokić was more than happy to shoulder the burden. Jokić’s career high in shot attempts came on his 50-point performance in a loss to the Sacramento Kings earlier this year. He made 20-of-33 shots that game, but nobody on Denver’s roster scored with him.
Tonight was more of the same until Jamal Murray locked in. Murray, who turned 24 today, scored 19 points in the fourth quarter to to help pick up and carry the torch Jokić had brought with him. Still, the night went to Joker, who dropped 40+ for the fourth time this season, the most in the NBA. It was never expected for Jokić to turn into as dangerous a scorer as he is a passer, but that’s clearly what has happened this season.
Great stuff from the Joker, who’s now averaging 27.0 points, 10.9 rebounds, and 8.4 assists per game while shooting 56.0% from the field, 40.8% from three, and 87.5% from the free throw line. A near 27-point triple double every night while maintaining close to 50-40-90 shooting splits. The numbers are ridiculously good, perhaps MVP caliber.