After one of the worst scoring games of his career against the Sacramento Kings, Nikola Jokic bounced back in the Nuggets 109-104 loss to the Washington Wizards on Monday.
Many questioned if the acquisition of Paul Millsap was bothering him, he denied that claim. “If I don’t score, who cares?” Jokic said following Monday’s morning shoot-around. “The more important thing is that we win. I’m here to help my team win. That’s it.”
Although he didn’t score in Saturday’s 96-79 win against the Sacramento Kings, Jokic did have the highest plus/minus of any player on the night as he finished with seven assists and nine rebounds for +21.
Still, questions lingered as he went scoreless in Denver’s season home opener and the most troubling part about it Jokic only shot the ball three times for the full game. Something Head Coach Michael Malone was upset about.
“I definitely don’t want him going four more quarters without scoring. That’s not good for him, that’s not good for us in the long run. He’s way too important to this team.”
After the Kings game, Malone reiterated the fact that he wasn’t worried about Jokic’ lack of scoring this early in the season, but he couldn’t have even guessed what was coming.
Jokic responded against the Wizards when he started the game off going 5-of-5 from the field for 12 points along with three rebounds and two assists in the first quarter. The scoring had returned.
He looked aggressive to start the game and Malone made it a point to get him the ball early.
“The kids a hell of a player.” Said Malone after Monday’s contest against the Wizards. “We ran the first play for him and he scored and everybody calmed down after that because I knew he was fine. I was fine, but hopefully, you guys are okay after that.”
For the game, Jokic finished with 29 points, 9 rebounds, and 5 assists, which received big praise from even the opposing coach.
“I saw him last year scoring the basketball more than the past two games,” said Wizards Head Coach Scott Brooks after the game. “I mean, the kid is one of the best bigs in the game. He is not only one of the best passing bigs but he can score in so many areas on the floor. He puts the ball on the floor, he can mid-post, post up, shoot threes, he’s a handful. He really is a terrific player and he has a chance to be an All-Star.”
The Nuggets have begun the 2017-18 season going 1-2 and if it wasn’t for turnovers, they could easily be 3-0. Through three games, Jokic is averaging 12.0 points, 10 rebounds and 6.7 assists a game and looks as if those numbers will rise in the coming games. Denver now begins a four game road trip out East starting Wednesday night against the Charlotte Hornets.