15 days. That’s the exact time the Nuggets have been counting their games by losses (they have been six in a row). Luckily for them Nikola Jokic came back last night. After four games away, the Serbian returned and shone against Miami to help his team not only win, but also to impose themselves emphatically in Florida to give themselves a joy they already needed, especially hours after learning that Michael Porter Jr. goes under the knife.
It was exactly 24 points, 15 rebounds and 7 assists from the center, numbers that boosted those of Colorado to win by up to 20 points at halftime (43-63) and not go through any trouble until the final 108-120. They did not fail at the collective level either, since Jokic had the collaboration of Aaron Gordon, who went up to 20 points, as well as 19 points from rookie Bones Hyland from the bench and 14 from Will Barton.
The Mike Malone guys enjoyed it; so much so that they even signed an enormous performance in the outside shot, a facet of the game in which they have had problems all season. Last night they achieved 51.4% on 3s when hitting 18 shots of 35 attempts. In the season they are the twentieth worst team with 33.5%. Beyond hard data, Jokic believes they should focus on looking ahead. “We need to move into the future. We won this game and that’s the most important thing.
While smiles proliferated in the Nuggets, Miami had little reason for satisfaction. A game in which things were not working out was joined by the fact of not being able to have two of his essential pieces, since Jimmy Butler was out due to a concussion and Tyler Herro could not play because of what was defined as pain widespread.
Without two of its pillars on the court. Bam Adebayo carried the weight of the game to sign a double-double of 24 points and 13 rebounds. Also good were Kyle Lowry with 17 points and 14 assists, and Max Trus, who went up to 19 points with 6 of 12 in triples. For Erik Spoelstra the problem was basically that the team did not respond to the expected defensive level.
Our defense is better than what we saw. I think they played extremely well. At the crucial moments in the course of the game, it seemed like they hit every shot, every play… ”, says the Florida head coach.
(Photograph by C. Morgan Engel / Getty Images)