NUGGETS

Nikola Jokic’s worst shooting night costs fully healthy Nuggets in LA

Dec 6, 2023, 10:44 PM | Updated: Dec 7, 2023, 1:59 pm

Nikola Jokic missed more shots on Wednesday night in Los Angeles history than he has at any time in his career.

The Denver Nuggets superstar center still tallied a triple-double but went just 9-of-32 from the field as his team dropped to the Los Angeles Clippers 111-102. Denver had beaten the Clippers eight straight times including a ludicrous win led by Reggie Jackson last week and had won 14 of the last 16 meetings between two teams since the Nuggets fell behind 3-1 in the second round of the bubble playoffs.

“For him (Jokic ) to take 32 shots and only get two free throws and they both came in the fourth quarter doesn’t add up,” Michael Malone said. “He took a lot of shots he normally makes. I’ve never seen him go 9-of-32 before.”

The Nuggets shot nine free throws in the contest to the Clippers 25.

“We just weren’t good enough,” Malone said. “I wasn’t good enough tonight. And we as a team weren’t good enough tonight”

Denver had been off since Saturday night, including a night on the road in Los Angeles. Jamal Murray returned from an ankle injury that he suffered in his comeback from a hamstring injury which kept him from playing most of last month. Aaron Gordon also played in his second game back from an injury, making it the Nuggets first game as a full healthy until since their seventh contest of the season.

Jokic finished with 22 points, 15 rebounds and 10 assists while Murray had a team-high 23 points and Michael Porter Jr. connected on 7-of-his-8 shots for 18 points. Denver played decently solid defense in the game despite the Clippers four future Hall of Famers scoring an efficient 71 points.

Where the Nuggets lost was in blowing a 15-point lead after a quarter, and Jokic’s shooting slump which kicked in in that second quarter and lasted throughout the game. The Nuggets had a season-high for a quarter eight threes in the first then just four the rest of the way.

“It was a weird game, we looked great to start tonight, and then obviously the second quarter wasn’t,” Malone said. “That’s the second time in the last two games we’re our second quarter has been a complete disaster, to be frank. So we have to figure out.”

The Nuggets are back home for a lone game against the Rockets on Friday where Jeff Green will get his ring. Then Denver is back to the road for two more games away from Colorado—finishing a stretch of 11 of 14 games on the road. Despite the injuries to two starters and road-heavy slate the Nuggets still have one of the best records in the NBA, but Wednesday’s ended one of their fun little streaks at least for now.

“We didn’t do much good tonight and we’ll be better next time,” Malone said.

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