NBA: Jokic's triple-double gives him at least one vs every opponent
NBA

NBA: Jokic’s latest triple-double gives him at least one vs every opponent

/ 02:54 PM February 23, 2024

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Denver Nuggets NBA Nikola Jokic

Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic, right, drives the lane as Washington Wizards guard Bilal Coulibaly defends in the second half of an NBA basketball game Thursday, Feb. 22, 2024, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

DENVER — Nikola Jokic became the third player in NBA history to record at least one triple-double against every opponent in the league, going 10-for-10 from the floor and finishing with 21 points, 19 rebounds and 15 assists in the Denver Nuggets’ 130-110 win over the Washington Wizards on Thursday night.

Michael Porter Jr. had 22 points and 11 rebounds for the defending champion Nuggets, who returned from the All-Star break and snapped a three-game skid.

Jokic’s triple-double was his 16th this season, second in the league to Domantas Sabonis’ 19. LeBron James and Russell Westbrook are the other players with a triple-double against every opponent.

READ: Nikola Jokic, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander ascend to NBA MVP favorites

“After I finish my career, it’s a legacy and milestone,” Jokic said. “I’m going to look back and I’m going to say that’s a really cool thing to do.”

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Jokic nearly got there in the first half, with 10 points, 14 rebounds and nine assists. It was his third triple-double with a perfect shooting performance on 10 or more attempts — and he’s the only player since the NBA-ABA merger to do that once, according to OptaSTATS.

“What’s unique about him is he can impose his will in so many different areas,” Nuggets coach Michael Malone said. “Some guys were great scorers, but Nikola, he can score, he can rebound, he can play-make. He can just impact the game across the board. As we always talk about, he’s just the definition of greatness.”

Jamal Murray, who missed Denver’s previous game with tibia inflammation, had 18 points, eight assists and three steals.

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Kyle Kuzma had 31 points and 13 rebounds for the Wizards, who matched their worst skid of the season with their ninth straight loss. Deni Avdija, who averaged 28.3 points and shot 61.5% in Washington’s previous four games, was held to five points on 2-of-11 shooting.

READ: NBA: Nikola Jokic, Nuggets fend off gritty 76ers

Washington shot 38.8% from the field and fell to 1-34 against opponents with winning records. Jordan Poole, moved out of the starting lineup by interim coach Brian Keefe, scored 18 points on 4-of-17 shooting.

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“We should have a sense of urgency because we had lost eight in a row,” Kuzma said. “That urgency should be there and we’re just off the break. We’re not making no excuses. We have no pity. Nobody really cares. We’ve got to come out (Friday) and just show some heart.”

Aaron Gordon scored 17 points for Denver while Christian Braun and Peyton Watson were productive off the bench. Braun had 12 points and 10 rebounds, and Watson finished with 11 points and four blocks.

Denver toyed with Washington defensively, regularly beating the Wizards with backdoor cuts that led to high-percentage and often uncontested scoring opportunities at the rim. Despite making just four of their 18 3-pointers in the first half, the Nuggets went 28 of 37 (75.7%) from inside the arc to help build a 72-49 halftime lead.

Denver finished with a season-high 88 points in the paint.

The Nuggets led by 16 in the first quarter and extended that advantage to 26 when Gordon made two free throws with 2:04 remaining in the second.

The only other time the Nuggets lost three straight games this season, they responded by winning nine of their next 10.

“I think we came out with a tremendous sense of urgency and handled this game the right way,” Malone said.

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Wizards: At Oklahoma City on Friday night.

Nuggets: At Portland on Friday night.

TAGS: NBA, Nikola Jokic

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