In his second time competing in the Taco Bells Skills Challenge, Denver Nuggets big man Nikola Jokic fell just short of reaching the championship round after a semifinal loss to Boston Celtics rising star, Jayson Tatum.
Jokic opened the contest strong with a round one victory over Orlando Magic center, Nikola Vucevic. After Vucevic missed his three-point attempt, Jokic made his first shot from downtown, which moved him into the semifinals. This is the same point in the challenge where Jokic was eliminated by Kristaps Porzingis two-years ago as the Nuggets big man was looking for a different result in his matchup against Tatum.
It was not in the cards for Jokic though as he lost to Tatum in the semifinals. Jokic jumped out to a fairly substantial lead over Tatum, but the there-point shot is what doomed Jokic in the end. After Jokic missed his first shot from distance, Tatum made his shot count as he drilled it to eliminate the Nuggets big man.
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With Tatum defeating Jokic, that put him in the championship round against Atlanta Hawks rookie sensation Trae Young. Tatum pulled off an incredible victory over Young after he made a half-court shot to help seal the victory. Young had the first attempt from three, but Tatum made his one shot count to win, which just so happened to be from half-court.
The Skills Challenge was just the start of what will be an extremely busy weekend for Jokic as he will play in his first career All-Star game tomorrow night. Tip-off for that game is scheduled for 6 p.m. and will be televised on TNT.