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Recap: Nuggets dismantle the Grizzlies 122-109 behind another historic night for Jokic

Nikola Jokic may have sealed his MVP case with his performance tonight

Memphis Grizzlies v Denver Nuggets Photo by Ethan Mito/Clarkson Creative/Getty Images

The Denver Nuggets captured their first victory against the Memphis Grizzlies this season. More importantly, they clinched a top-6 playoff spot tonight. Nikola Jokic compiled another historic night as he became the first player in NBA history to record 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds, and 500 assists in a season. He also gets his 66th 20 point night which leads the NBA. He dropped 35 points, 16 rebounds, 6 assists, and 5 steals with an incredible plus/minus of +37.

The Nuggets were 2-6 in their last 8 home games, but this win against a great Memphis group could give Denver some real momentum moving forward. Even though they were without Ja Morant, they were 20-3 without him before this game, so this was no easy task. The Nuggets move to just a half-game behind Utah for the 5th seed, and they will look to capture that seed on Sunday against the Lakers at 7:30 PM.

1st Quarter

  • Will Barton began the contest by sinking a three, and Jackson Jr. responded by playing bully ball on Jeff Green for two. Dillon Brooks followed with a mid-range basket, and then Jones and Bane both hit threes for a 10-4 Grizzlies lead
  • After a Denver timeout, Aaron Gordon knocked down a triple, but Brooks answered with a driving layup. Monte then sank another three to cut the lead to 12-10, but an Adams put back dunk and a Brooks three expanded their lead to six
  • Gordon made a nice fadeaway the following possession, but the Grizzlies responded with two threes from Bane and Kyle Anderson. Jokic scored his first points off a fadeaway jumper from the corner and a tip-in shot which cut the lead to 22-16
  • Melton sank another three for Memphis, but Gordon matched it with a three of his own and trumped it with another three in transition. Gordon then tied it up at 25 with a beautiful alley-oop and-one dunk
  • Bones Hyland then drove to the rack for a layup, and Jokic did the same as the Nuggets captured a 29-25 lead. Bones sank a corner three, but Jackson Jr. hit a triple from the top of the arc
  • Bones then dished an assist to Joker for a hook shot, but Anderson ended the quarter with two free throws

Score: 34-30 Nuggets

Scoring leaders: Gordon - 14, Brooks/Bane - 6

2nd Quarter

  • Davon Reed initiated the quarter with a driving layup and forced a turnover resulting in a Rivers layup. Williams scored his first points with a three, but Jokic answered with an and-one layup
  • Jaren Jackson would make a layup on the following possession, but Bones countered with a three to force a Memphis timeout. After multiple scoreless possessions, Rivers and Clarke matched two’s, and then Jeff Green knocked down two free throws
  • Aaron Gordon followed with two free ones for a 50-37 Denver lead before Konchar drilled a three. Bones hit another three of the step-back variety, and then Clarke rebounded a Jones miss for a tip-in shot
  • Jokic hit a rare Sombor shuffle, and Barton found Gordon for a two-handed slam, which extended Denver’s lead to 58-42. Melton swished home a corner three, and Jones sank a mid-range fadeaway, but Denver answered with a Monte triple
  • A Jokic dunk and a Monte layup ballooned Denver’s lead to 66-47, which forced another Memphis timeout. The Nuggets scored again with a Jokic floater, but Brooks matched it with his own floater
  • Two Gordon free throws put the Nugget lead to 21 until Anderson scored four in a row

Score: 70-53 Nuggets

Scoring leaders: Gordon - 20, Anderson - 9

3rd Quarter

  • Jokic opened the half with a three and Gordon followed with a fadeaway mid-range. Brooks scored at the other end with a floater and then Bane added a layup
  • Monte nailed a 15 footer and then found Barton for an alley-oop dunk. They obtained their largest lead of the night at 79-57 before Jackson Jr. drove for a layup, but then Jokic found Barton for a corner triple
  • Jeff Green put home an aggressive driving layup, and Barton followed with another layup. Bane responded with a three and two free throws on the next possession, and Brooks added a transition layup
  • After a Denver timeout, Jokic dropped in a hook shot, but Bane matched it with a floater. Jokic took it to the rack again for an and-one layup, and then he picked Jones’s pockets which resulted in two Barton free throws
  • Barton added two more free ones along with a Jokic finger roll. Williams and Barton exchanged two’s, and then Jokic compiled his second dunk of the night in transition for a 101-71 lead
  • Clarke recorded an and-one layup after a Memphis timeout, and then Bones converted two free throws. Melton then scored a layup, but JaMychal matched it with a layup, and then Melton ended the quarter with two free throws

Score: 105-78 Nuggets

Scoring leaders: Jokic - 29, Bane - 14

4th Quarter

  • JaMychal and Ziaire Williams exchanged two’s to open the final quarter, and then Bones tallied another three. Clarke rocked the rim for a dunk, and after multiple scoreless possessions, Rivers broke through for a layup
  • Aldama and Tillman scored seven in a row for Memphis, but Rivers ended the run with another layup. Konchar hit a three at the other end to cut the lead to 114-92 and Anderson added a floater
  • Aldama scored on a tip-in shot, forcing Malone to bring back all his starters. Jokic then made his 2,000th point of the season with a hook shot as the crowd erupted in MVP chants, and then he added another layup
  • Jokic continued his hot scoring with another layup which expanded Denver’s lead to 120-97. Memphis converted four consecutive free throws in their two trips down the floor, but with 2:45 left the game was already decided
  • JaMychal rebounded a Howard miss for a layup, but Williams answered with a three. The Grizzlies ended the game with six straight in garbage time

Score: 122-109 Nuggets

Stat leaders

Points: Jokic - 35

Rebounds: Jokic - 16

Assists: Hyland - 7

Silent hero of the game: Aaron Gordon - 22 points, 5 rebounds, and 2 assists on 7-11 from shooting and 3-5 from three