Jokić triple-double powers Nuggets past Grizzlies, puts them atop West
December 21, 2022
Another Nikola Jokić triple-double has helped the Nuggets motor past the Grizzlies 105-91 in a battle between Western Conference heavyweights at Ball Arena in Denver.
Coming into the meeting, Memphis were in possession of the West’s one-seed with a 19-10 record whilst Denver were only a spot below them at 18-11.
The win, however, puts Denver atop the conference due to their leg-up over Memphis in the season series.
With Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. unavailable, Jokić finished with 13 points, 13 rebounds and 13 assists to secure his 82nd career triple-double – the sixth-most all-time.
Aaron Gordon finished with a team-high 24 points, seven rebounds and four assists whilst Bruce Brown added 16 points, five rebounds and four assists.
Denver got off to a blistering start outscoring Memphis by 21 in the first quarter and taking a 15-point lead into halftime.
The Grizzlies managed to cut into the lead and dragged themselves within single-digits at different stages in the third and fourth stanzas but were unable to prevent a wire-to-wire Nuggets victory.
It was the lowest points total Denver has held a team to this season – a welcome sight after eight straight games of conceding 110 or more.
Denver were plus-13 on the boards and hit 10 of their 27 threes compared to Memphis’ 5-of-26.
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Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Christian Braun, and Bones Hyland all hit multiple threes for Denver.
The Grizzlies were led by Ja Morant’s 35 points and 10 assists whilst Jaren Jackson Jr. had eight points, five blocks and three steals.
Dillon Brooks (11) and Brandon Clarke (10) were the only other Grizzlies to score in double-figures.
Their 91-point total was their lowest of the season.
No player has won three-consecutive MVPs in the NBA since Larry Bird in the mid-‘80s but reigning back-to-back MVP Jokić looks poised to give it a shake.
The Serbian phenom is now averaging 24.7 ppg, 11.0 rpg and 9.2 apg on 68.8 TS% this season and has his Nuggets sitting first in the Western Conference.
Buzz surrounding Jokić’s name has arisen recently particularly after his 40-point, 27-rebound, 10-assist effort against the Hornets on Monday.
The Nuggets host Portland on Saturday whilst the Grizzlies will be in Phoenix on the same day.