Kia MVP Ladder: Nikola Jokic’s scoring binge nets No. 3 rankings

Nikola Jokic improves his standing on the heels of scoring 70 mixed factors in a two-game stretch.

As the world snaps out of its Thanksgiving grub coma — after devouring Wednesday’s appetizing slate of NBA motion — brace for dessert from the sweet-shooting Serbian and reigning two-time Kia MVP Nikola Jokic, who leads the Denver Nuggets into Arena on Friday to face the LA Clippers (10:30 a.m. ET, NBA TV).

“Hey, I performed Nikola Jokic 64 minutes as soon as in a playoff recreation,” Nuggets coach Michael Malone quipped Wednesday after his workforce outlasted Oklahoma City 131-126 in extra time. “People do not assume he is athletic, however he is like Secretariat. He can run for days.”

Jokic showcased as a lot in reeling off his second-consecutive outing with 31 factors or extra, and first profession recreation by which the 27-year-old racked up 39 factors, 10 boards, and 9 assists on simply 11 discipline objectives made with 16 free throws. Jokic inflicted that injury with out the assistance of starters Jamal Murray (relaxation) and Michael Porter Jr. (left heel), nailing 5 buckets early for 14 first-quarter factors.

In all, the Nuggets star crawls up one other slot to No. 3 on this week’s version of Kia Race to the MVP Ladder after coming again sturdy from lacking three video games as a result of NBA’s well being and security protocols.

Nikola Jokic flirted with a triple-double as he led the Nuggets to an OT win over the Thunder.

Luka Doncic and Jayson Tatum stay within the high two spots, after the Celtics on Wednesday blasted the Mavericks 125-112 on the energy of the latter’s 37-point double-double, whereas Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry makes his high 5 debut.

Jokic, in the meantime, scored a mixed 70 factors Tuesday and Wednesday, incomes a well-deserved relaxation heading into Friday’s conflict in Los Angeles with the Clippers.

“I assumed Nikola confirmed you from the get-go, ‘Alright, we’re not dropping tonight,'” Malone mentioned as Denver averted dropping two in a row for what would have been simply the second time this season. “He got here out ultra-aggressive, set the tone early. Scoring, taking part in to the basket, realizing we had numerous firepower out. It’s humorous how Nikola will get 39, 10, and 9, and it is type of like, ‘Yeah, he was good tonight.’ That’s the definition of a terrific participant.”

Jokic and Bruce Brown mixed for 23 boards as Denver destroyed Oklahoma City on the glass 55-26 to complete with its second-highest rebounding whole of the season.

The Nuggets at the moment are 3-0 in 2022-23 once they gobble up 50 rebounds or extra.

“I saved on pondering at the back of my thoughts, ‘I do not wish to rejoice Thanksgiving with two losses,'” Malone mentioned. “Nothing’s gonna style good on Thanksgiving if we’ve got two losses in a row. Bah, humbug. This lets you fly to LA tonight, get pleasure from a pleasant day tomorrow. We’ll have a workforce meal and rejoice. [I’m] very grateful for the blokes in that locker room.”

And now, the highest 5 within the 2022-23 Kia Race to the MVP Ladder:

1. Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks

Last week’s rating: no 1

Season stats: 34.0 ppg, 8.0 rpg, 8.1 apg

The NBA’s main scorer, Doncic dropped 42 factors in Wednesday’s showdown towards Tatum for his fourth 40-point outing of the season. The 23-year-old now ranks because the second-fastest participant in NBA historical past (when it comes to video games performed) to succeed in 7,500-plus factors, 2,000-plus rebounds, and a pair of,000-plus assists, trailing solely Oscar Robertson, who completed the feat in 254 video games in comparison with the Dallas guard’s 280 outings. Still, the Mavericks are simply 1-5 this season on the street, and so they’ve dropped three of their final 4 with powerful street video games looming on the horizon at Toronto and Milwaukee.

Luka Doncic finishes with 42 factors in a showdown towards the Celtics.

2. Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics

Last week’s rating: no 2

Season stats: 30.6 ppg, 7.9 rpg, 4.7 apg

Tallied 37 factors and a season-high 13 rebounds towards the Mavericks on Wednesday to maintain the Celtics undefeated (5-0) this season towards Western Conference opponents. The newest victory snapped a four-game dropping streak towards Dallas. “His potential to reply the second, his potential to make everybody round him higher, you’ll be able to depend on him to play each night time,” Boston coach Joe Mazzulla mentioned. Tatum at present leads the NBA in whole factors (550) and reeled off 23 of his team-high 37 factors within the second half towards Dallas. The 24-year-old mixed with Jaylen Brown for 68 factors, producing his sixteenth profession outing with 30 factors and 10 rebounds to interrupt a tie with Bill Russell for the ninth-most such video games in Celtics historical past.


Jayson Tatum pours in 37 factors in an enormous win over the Mavs.

3. Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets

Last week’s rating: no 4

Season stats: 22.7 ppg, 9.5 rpg, 9.0 apg

Averaging practically a triple-double, the reigning two-time MVP is beginning to flip up the dial on scoring, having poured in 70 factors in his final two video games. Jokic shot a blistering 16 of 18 from the free-throw line towards Oklahoma City on Wednesday, marking simply the second time in his profession that he knocked down 16 free throws in a recreation. “I gave Nikola a few minute [and] 49-second relaxation on the finish of the third, and he performed the remainder of the best way,” Malone mentioned of Jokic, who scored 10 factors and dished out 5 assists within the fourth quarter alone.

4. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks

Last week’s rating: no 3

Season stats: 30.5 ppg, 11.6 rpg, 5.5 apg

Milwaukee seems to be dropping steam, having misplaced 4 of its final six. But Antetokounmpo continues to supply, placing collectively his 132nd profession recreation with 30 factors or extra and 10-plus rebounds in Wednesday’s loss to the Bulls. Interestingly, the Bucks personal a report of 101-31 when Antetokounmpo pumps out 30 factors and 10 rebounds. The two-time MVP struggled out of the gates, although, scoring simply eight of his game-high tying 36 factors within the first half on 4-of-11 capturing. Milwaukee coughed up its second-most turnovers (20) of the season, leading to 17 factors for the Bulls. Antetokounmpo was answerable for a game-high eight turnovers.

Giannis Antetokounmpo goes off for 36 factors in a loss to the Bulls.

5. Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors

Last week’s rating: no 10

Season stats: 31.6 ppg, 6.6 rpg, 7.2 apg

The Warriors are virtually again to .500 (9-10), and it is virtually cringy to assume the place they’d be with out Curry main the best way. After all, he is put up 30 factors or extra in 11 of his first 16 video games this season, marking the primary time in his profession he is completed that feat. Curry and Klay Thompson mixed for 40 factors in Wednesday’s blowout of the LA Clippers, with the previous flattening 4 of 10 from deep and dishing 9 dimes, as Golden State improved to 8-1 at residence. In a streak that began in December of 2018, Curry has drilled no less than one 3-pointer in an NBA-record 206 consecutive regular-season outings. He can dribbletoo, by the best way.

The Next Five:

6. Donovan Mitchell, Cleveland Cavaliers (Last week’s rating: No. 9)
7. Devin Booker, Phoenix Suns (Last week’s rating: No. 8)
8. Anthony Davis, Los Angeles Lakers (Last week’s rating: not ranked)
9. De’Aaron Fox, Sacramento Kings (Last week’s rating: not ranked)
10. Ja Morant, Memphis Grizzlies (Last week’s rating: No. 5)

And 5 extra (listed alphabetically): Jaylen Brown, Boston Celtics; Kevin Durant, Brooklyn Nets; Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers; Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Oklahoma City Thunder; Trae Young, Atlanta Hawks.

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Michael C. Wright is a senior author for You can e-mail him right herediscover his archive right here and observe him on Twitter.

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