Jokic Makes History in Another Nuggets Win
Jokic became the first player in NBA history with 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds and 500 assists in a season. He had 35 points, 16 rebounds, six assists and five steals Thursday evening.
After having to retreat to the bench twice to stop the bleeding, Jokic donned a red headband for the remainder of the game as he helped the Nuggets (48-33) overcome a shaky start to avoid a season sweep at the hands of the Grizzlies.
"The MVP isn't even a competition," Nuggets coach Michael Malone declared afterward. "There's other great players. I'm not saying they're not great players. But what Nikola Jokic has done this year -- with this team, everything we've had to go through -- is just incredible.
"He was good last year, and he's even better this year."
Despite missing stars Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr., the Nuggets clinched a top-six spot in the Western Conference playoffs and avoided the four-team play-in thanks to another outstanding performance from the reigning MVP.
They can still win the Northwest Division with a victory Sunday night against the Los Angeles Lakers and two losses by the Utah Jazz (48-32), who finish up against the Phoenix Suns and Portland Trail Blazers. Denver's victory also locked the Minnesota Timberwolves into the play-in.
Jokic got a game ball from the Nuggets as a keepsake of his historic night, but he joked the trainers would probably sell his blood-soaked headband on eBay.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.