NUGGETS

Nikola Jokic’s torrid week continues, Nuggets blitz Warriors

Feb 25, 2024, 8:01 PM

Go into the All-Star Break losers of three straight and come out of it winners of three in a row.

Much like how the Denver Nuggets seem to be turning it on in the second half of the season, in a Sunday game against the Golden State Warriors—the Mile High City crew tightened the screws as the game progressed in a 119-103 comeback win.

Playing a third game in four days, the Nuggets came out okay, but the first stint from the bench unit went terribly, and Denver was quickly down 15. Nikola Jokic came to the rescue, he and Jamal Murray led a 14-0 run to end the second quarter and tie the game going into halftime. Denver rocketed to a ten-point lead to start the third and never looked back.

“That run at the end of the second quarter we got back in control,” Jokic told ESPN after the game. “That stretch, we controlled it from there on out. They’re the Warriors, they’re champions and playing well, a tough team to beat. But 103 points on the road is great defense from us.”

It was Jokic again making history. In his last three games out he’s become the third player in league history with a triple-double against every team he’s played against, passed LeBron James for combined regular season and postseason triple-doubles and against the Warriors it was two feats. Jokic finished with 32 points, 16 rebounds, 16 assists and four steals, the first player in league history to achieve those numbers, making it his third-straight game of 20 or more points, 14 or more rebounds and 14 or more assists—something he’s also the first player in NBA history to achieve.

“He showed again why he’s the best player in the league,” Malone said of Jokic after the game.

Murray added 27 points as he and Jokic combined to score or assist on 37 of the Nuggets 43 buckets in the game. Meanwhile, Steph Curry cooked for 14 points in the third quarter but was held to just six in other quarters and Klay Thompson didn’t score in the second half after pouring in 23 in the first half.

Denver’s win scored a seventh straight win against the Warriors since being eliminated from the 2022 playoffs. A lot of that success could be attributed to Denver’s changing personal since that series and how good Kentavious Caldwell-Pope’s defense has been on the Warriors’ guards.

“It’s easier said than done but the message is always the same in limiting the three, last five games they were making 17 threes a game, holding them to 11, that’s why we beat them,” Malone said postgame. “That game can get away from you in a hurry if they hit threes. Our guys have bought in but we need to clean some things up still.”

The Nuggets are the only team to sweep all four games against the Warriors in a season when Curry has played in all the matchups since Steve Kerr became his coach.

Denver has its final back-to-back of the season on Wednesday and Thursday, hosting the Kings who just beat the Nuggets twice before the break and the Heat who return to Colorado for the first time since Game 5 of the NBA Finals. The Nuggets three wins coming out the break have all been by more than 15 points, the first blowout stretch like that for the team since December of 2017. Now 20 games above .500, the Nuggets are 1.5 games back of first-place Minnesota, still fighting with the Clippers and Thunder.

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