Nikola Jokić recorded another triple with 12 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists in a home win against the Hornets. That marks his 10th triple double this season and 51 triple doubles in his career. Jokić wasn’t the topic of conversation, though. We expect those numbers from him on a nightly basis so the fact that he did it again wasn’t too surprising at this point.
“Everybody knows Joker is going to do what he does every single night,” Michael Porter Jr said. “You already know he should be a front runner for MVP so I’m proud of him and you know he can do it all. If he wants to score 30, he can score 30 every single night but he makes sure that we get involved and we find our rhythm and that’s what great players do. I don’t think he has had a bad game yet this season.”
Porter Jr was the Nuggets leading scorer with 28 points on 11 of 17 shooting from the field and 3 of 6 from the three to go along with 13 rebounds. He also took on the challenge of defending Gordon Hayward, who is averaging 21 points this season. He said that’s the part of his game that he was most proud of.
“I just think defensively against Gordon Hayward, he’s a great player,” Porter Jr said. “I just came into this game with the mindset of just trying to help our team on that end and then the stuff on the offensive end took care of itself.”
He held Hayward to just 7 points on 3 of 7 shooting from the field and 1 of 5 shooting from long range.
This game was Denver’s most well rounded game all season. It started out a bit sloppy in the first quarter but things started to come together late in the second. The Nuggets bench brought the energy down the stretch going up by 12 after going on a 7-0 run with 10 seconds left to go in the quarter. PJ Dozier added 13 points on 5 of 8 shooting with 5 rebounds while Facu Campazzo’s had 6 points, 10 assists and 4 steals.
“What I love about Facu, is that he has a chip on his shoulder,” Michael Malone said. “He has that toughness and he wants to go out there every night and prove to himself. He’s just one of those guys players don’t like playing against. He’s just constantly always there. He’s always around you and I’m really glad he’s apart of our team and our family.”
Campazzo had no problem taking on the rookie LaMelo Ball who only scored 14 points on 5 of 11 shooting. No matter what the challenge is, Campazzo is always ready to take it on.
The Nuggets came out of halftime with a fire in their eyes. Third quarters have been a struggle for this group but not on Wednesday night. They opened the quarter on 18-2 run and Charlotte had no answers whatsoever. Denver’s ball movement was stellar, floor spacing on point, and defensive effort was there. As a team, they grabbed 48 rebounds and had 37 assists.
“To me success is coming to work everyday with a purpose, challenging yourself, challenging your teammates to be better and staying true to our culture,” Malone said. “Working, being selfless and trusting each other.”
That’s exactly what this team embodied in its game against Charlotte. It didn’t matter who scored the most points or who had the most assists, what mattered was following the game plan and playing together. Denver finished the third quarter up 95-67 and it was a wrap.
Jokić and Jamal Murray spent the rest of the game on the bench cheering their teammates on as they closed it out 129-104.
Murray has gotten his groove back, and after his impressive game against the Pacers on Monday, he picked up right where he left of. He had 19 points, 5 assists and 4 steals, making his presence known on both ends of the floor. Will Barton put up 23 points on 8 of 15 from the field. This was his fourth consecutive game of 20 plus points.
The Nuggets have now won 7 of their last 8 games and are fifth in the west with a 24 and 16 record. They face the Chicago Bulls at home on Friday.