DENVER — — Nikola Jokic wanted solely 5 photographs on his option to a league-main eleventh triple-double of the season. How’s that for environment friendly.
“A very selfless famous person,” Denver coach Michael Malone mentioned.
Jokic completed with 14 factors — an ideal 5 of 5 from the ground, 3 of three from the road — grabbed 11 rebounds and dished out 16 assists because the Nuggets beat the Los Angeles Lakers 122-109 on Monday night time in a sport the place LeBron James sat out as a result of a sore left ankle.
“I do know quite a lot of gamers that in the event that they took 5 photographs in 35 minutes they’d be (mad) proper now,” Malone mentioned. “Nikola does not care whether or not he takes 5 or 25. There’s not many guys like him that I’ve ever been round.”
Count Lakers coach Darvin Ham as impressed. It marked the twelfth triple-double in league historical past with 5 or fewer photographs, in keeping with the Nuggets.
“The manner (Jokic) places his fingerprints everywhere in the sport, that is a rarity, particularly at his dimension,” Ham mentioned. “It’s just a few of these guys within the league that is in a position to do this.”
Jamal Murray added a season-excessive 34 factors to assist the Nuggets win their eleventh straight house sport. It’s their longest house streak since capturing 12 in a row in 2018.
Denver stays tied with Memphis for the highest spot within the Western Conference.
“We did what we had been presupposed to do,” Malone mentioned. “The guys got here to work with a piece mindset. Everybody stepped up and did their job.”
Russell Westbrook completed with 25 factors regardless of dislocating his pinky finger — “I put it again in, twice,” he defined — and Thomas Bryant added 17 together with 10 boards for the Lakers, who noticed their 5-sport profitable streak halted.
James was dominated out hours earlier than tipoff, becoming a member of injured ahead Anthony Davis (proper foot) on the bench. Patrick Beverley did not play after halftime as a result of a hip damage.
The Lakers entered the sport with out Troy Brown Jr. (strained left quadriceps), Austin Reaves (strained hamstring pressure) and Lonnie Walker IV (knee tendinitis).
“Kudos to our guys — they stored combating and simply had a pair unhealthy turnovers, couple balls that did not go our manner, couple photographs did not go down,” Ham mentioned. “The group that was on the market, they had been aggressive, then gave it their all till we could not give anymore.”
Leading by as many as 20 factors within the fourth quarter, the Nuggets noticed the Lakers make a mini-run. But Murray calmed issues down with a 3-pointer.
Murray’s scoring spree was one other large step as the purpose guard returns to kind from a torn ACL that precipitated him to overlook all of final season.
“I used to be simply taking part in my sport,” Murray mentioned of his efficiency that included 5 of the staff’s 15 3-pointers.
Lakers: G Kendrick Nunn had 15 factors. … G Dennis Schroder was referred to as for a technical within the third quarter.
Nuggets: F Zeke Nnaji turned 22 on Monday. … The Nuggets had been referred to as for 2 delay of sport technical fouls. … Kentavious Caldwell-Pope had 16 factors and Bruce Brown 15. … It was Jokic’s 87th profession triple-double.
The Lakers are beginning the ramp-up course of for Davis after they return house.
“There are totally different benchmarks constructed throughout the strategy of the upcoming weeks and if he meets these marks and checks off these containers, then he’ll be again on the courtroom,” Ham mentioned. “Am I keen to place a timetable on it? No.”
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
James was named Western Conference participant of the week Monday. He averaged 35 factors, 8.7 rebounds and seven.7 assists over his final three video games.
The 38-yr-previous James is 35 factors away from becoming a member of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as members of the NBA’s 38,000-level membership.
Lakers: Start a 5-sport homestand Thursday in opposition to Dallas.
Nuggets: Host Phoenix on Wednesday.
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