DENVER (AP) — Nikola Jokic was break up in his opinion over which play stood out extra.
The candidates: Facundo Campazzo’s backward, between-the-legs cross to Monte Morris for a layup, and Bol Bol handing over a coast-to-coast dribbling clinic, punctuated by the 7-foot-2 heart’s slam.
”Each are good,” the Nuggets huge man mentioned.
Truthful reply. Oklahoma Metropolis had no solutions for him.
Jokic had 27 factors and 12 rebounds earlier than calling it an early evening as Denver routed the Thunder 119-101 on Tuesday.
Clear shaven and sporting a brand new buzz lower, Jokic additionally had six assists earlier than taking a seat on the bench with the opposite starters for the fourth quarter.
”He would not get loads of credit score as he ought to, perhaps as a result of he (is not) flashy with the dunks,” mentioned Morris, who had 15 factors. ”He is bought a contact I’ve by no means actually seen. He is positively a future Corridor of Famer.”
The Thunder tried every thing to cease Jokic, however he was a handful for Isaiah Roby, who was giving up 4 inches and 50 kilos.
”Clearly, it is a powerful cowl proper now. However I do not suppose it is a long-term powerful cowl for him,” Thunder coach Mark Daigneault mentioned of Roby. ”It is a matchup that he ought to be capable of deal with long-term. We see him as that sort of participant.”
Paul Millsap had 13 factors and 12 rebounds for the Nuggets, who’ve gained six straight over the Thunder at dwelling.
Luguentz Dort saved the Thunder shut early by scoring 15 of his 20 factors within the first half.
The Nuggets started to tug away within the second quarter and stretched it within the third earlier than the Thunder made slightly run to make issues attention-grabbing.
”I advised our guys, ‘That is who we have been all season lengthy. We stand up. We construct a lead. We get lackadaisical and we give the sport again. Let’s not do this once more,”’ Nuggets coach Michael Malone recounted.
They responded by constructing it again as much as 26 and permitting Jokic and the remainder of the starters to sit down out the ultimate quarter.
It was a much-needed confidence increase for the struggling Nuggets (7-7), who superior to the Western Convention finals contained in the NBA bubble final season. A lot in order that former Nuggets coach George Karl posted on social media main as much as the sport: ”It is early within the season to say this however the Nuggets sport in opposition to the Thunder is a ‘should win’ for Denver.”
”This positively was a must-win,” Morris mentioned.
The Thunder performed for the primary time since an OT win over Chicago final Friday. Their sport in opposition to Philadelphia on Sunday was postponed as a result of the 76ers didn’t have the league-required eight accessible gamers to proceed due to contact tracing.
Thunder: G Ty Jerome stays in Oklahoma Metropolis to rehab a sore ankle. … The Thunder are 5-2 on the street this season and 1-5 at dwelling. … G Shai Gilgeous-Alexander had 14 factors and 7 assists.
Nuggets: F Greg Whittington had knee surgical procedure Tuesday. He can be re-evaluated in 4 to 6 weeks. … F Will Barton had 13 factors and 6 assists. … Denver outscored Oklahoma Metropolis in second-chance factors 32-3.
Thunder heart Al Horford missed the sport after he and his spouse not too long ago welcomed a brand new daughter, Nova. Daigneault wasn’t positive of a timetable on his return.
”We’re actually blissful for him,” Daigneault mentioned.
Malone retains feeding the arrogance of Morris. For that strategy, Malone credit the sage recommendation as soon as given to him by his father, longtime NBA coach Brendan Malone.
”A number of the best recommendation he gave me as a younger coach, the best reward I can provide any of our gamers is confidence,” Malone mentioned. ”Monte is aware of he has my full confidence.”
Malone on getting Jokic to search for his shot extra this season: ”I locked him in my workplace at some point, and I beat him with a pillow case crammed with soda cans, and mentioned, ‘You have to rating extra.’ … He is a terrific participant. He is enjoying at an MVP degree.”
Thunder: Face the Clippers in Los Angeles on Friday and once more on Sunday.
Nuggets: Start a five-game journey by enjoying in Phoenix on Friday and Saturday.
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