Hero Ballers: Nikola’s Nuggets

“First of all, I don’t know nothing about a signature win. I really don’t. I just wanted to win the game. Every game.”—Nikola Jokic

Granted, the league-Leading Golden State Warriors did not have Klay Thompson available Monday, but the Denver Nuggets were playing without Kenneth Faried, Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler, Emmanuel Mudiay and newest acquisition Mason Plumlee.

And, yes, our favorite point center Nikola Jokic did have himself another triple-double—posting 17 points, 21 rebounds and 12 assists with a +33 plus-minus score in 36 minutes—to lead Denver to a 132-110 victory over Golden State at Pepsi Center.

“We just got served a humble slice of cupcake.”—Stephen Curry

But the real story here was how The Joker’s Henchmen tied the NBA record with 24 made three-pointers on an unprecedented 40 attempts (60-percent clip), eclipsing the former 24-of-61 record (39 percent).

What made the feat even more impressive was that the 25-30 Nuggets destroyed the 46-9 Warriors with four of the Nuggets’ top eight minutemen not even playing.

Bart Young; Garrett Ellwood (4)/NBAE/Getty Images

No worries. The Denver second- and third-stringers all stepped up to the arc and made their shots.

  • Rookie Juancho Hernangomez, 27 points on 6-of-9 three-point shooting.
  • Will Barton, 24 points on 4-of-8 three-point shooting.
  • Jameer Nelson, 23 points on 5-of-7 three-point shooting.
  • Gary Harris, 16 points 4-of-7 three-point shooting.
  • Rookie Jamal Murray, 14 points on 2-of-5 three-point shooting.

And don’t forget Mike Miller (2-for-2), Johnny O’Bryant (1-for-1) and Malik Beasley (0-for-1) who also took turns behind the three-point arc, contributing to the NBA-record 24 three-pointers.

Credit the Joker—after putting up a 21-13-5 stat line in 25 minutes in their last eight-point loss to Golden State last month—for drawing the Warriors’ defensive attention Monday.

But then flip that respect right back to Jokic, who delivered as the savvy point center he is, leading Denver to a commanding 79-54 halftime lead, by doling out 8 first-half assists and grabbing 13 first-half rebounds in lieu of only scoring 6 first-half points.

Jokic really did set the table for his mates, with his 12 game assists leading to 30 points (5 three-point assists, 7 two-point assists and 1 free throw assist), while his 21 rebounds helped the Nuggets with their overwhelming 52-27 board edge.

It was more than enough for Denver to overcome a 22-turnover night where Golden State only had 9 TO’s and took four more shot attempts than the Nuggets.

But when Joker’s Henchmen are making 24 of 40 treys, ain’t nobody stopping history in the making.

Not Kevin Durant, who was only 2 of 5 on three-pointers Monday.

Not Steph Curry, who was 1 of 11 on treys.

Not even Batman could have done it.

Nikola Jokic 36 +33 17 (.576) 7-13 0-0 3-4 21 12/5 2 & 0


Key: MIN minutes; +/- plus-minus; PTS points; TSP true shooting percentage; 2FG 2-point field goals and attempts; 3FG 3-point field goals and attempts; FT free throws and attempts; REB rebounds; AST/TO assists/turnovers; STL & BLK steals and blocks.