Recap: Nuggets dismantle the Grizzlies 122-109 behind another historic night for Jokic

Memphis Grizzlies v Denver Nuggets
Photo by Ethan Mito/Clarkson Creative/Getty Images

Nikola Jokic may have sealed his MVP case with his performance tonight

The Denver Nuggets captured their first victory against the Memphis Grizzlies this season. More importantly, they clinched a top-6 playoff spot tonight. Nikola Jokic compiled another historic night as he became the first player in NBA history to record 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds, and 500 assists in a season. He also gets his 66th 20 point night which leads the NBA. He dropped 35 points, 16 rebounds, 6 assists, and 5 steals with an incredible plus/minus of +37.

The Nuggets were 2-6 in their last 8 home games, but this win against a great Memphis group could give Denver some real momentum moving forward. Even though they were without Ja Morant, they were 20-3 without him before this game, so this was no easy task. The Nuggets move to just a half-game behind Utah for the 5th seed, and they will look to capture that seed on Sunday against the Lakers at 7:30 PM.

1st Quarter

  • Will Barton began the contest by sinking a three, and Jackson Jr. responded by playing bully ball on Jeff Green for two. Dillon Brooks followed with a mid-range basket, and then Jones and Bane both hit threes for a 10-4 Grizzlies lead
  • After a Denver timeout, Aaron Gordon knocked down a triple, but Brooks answered with a driving layup. Monte then sank another three to cut the lead to 12-10, but an Adams put back dunk and a Brooks three expanded their lead to six
  • Gordon made a nice fadeaway the following possession, but the Grizzlies responded with two threes from Bane and Kyle Anderson. Jokic scored his first points off a fadeaway jumper from the corner and a tip-in shot which cut the lead to 22-16
  • Melton sank another three for Memphis, but Gordon matched it with a three of his own and trumped it with another three in transition. Gordon then tied it up at 25 with a beautiful alley-oop and-one dunk
  • Bones Hyland then drove to the rack for a layup, and Jokic did the same as the Nuggets captured a 29-25 lead. Bones sank a corner three, but Jackson Jr. hit a triple from the top of the arc
  • Bones then dished an assist to Joker for a hook shot, but Anderson ended the quarter with two free throws

Score: 34-30 Nuggets

Scoring leaders: Gordon – 14, Brooks/Bane – 6

2nd Quarter

  • Davon Reed initiated the quarter with a driving layup and forced a turnover resulting in a Rivers layup. Williams scored his first points with a three, but Jokic answered with an and-one layup
  • Jaren Jackson would make a layup on the following possession, but Bones countered with a three to force a Memphis timeout. After multiple scoreless possessions, Rivers and Clarke matched two’s, and then Jeff Green knocked down two free throws
  • Aaron Gordon followed with two free ones for a 50-37 Denver lead before Konchar drilled a three. Bones hit another three of the step-back variety, and then Clarke rebounded a Jones miss for a tip-in shot
  • Jokic hit a rare Sombor shuffle, and Barton found Gordon for a two-handed slam, which extended Denver’s lead to 58-42. Melton swished home a corner three, and Jones sank a mid-range fadeaway, but Denver answered with a Monte triple
  • A Jokic dunk and a Monte layup ballooned Denver’s lead to 66-47, which forced another Memphis timeout. The Nuggets scored again with a Jokic floater, but Brooks matched it with his own floater
  • Two Gordon free throws put the Nugget lead to 21 until Anderson scored four in a row

Score: 70-53 Nuggets

Scoring leaders: Gordon – 20, Anderson – 9

3rd Quarter

  • Jokic opened the half with a three and Gordon followed with a fadeaway mid-range. Brooks scored at the other end with a floater and then Bane added a layup
  • Monte nailed a 15 footer and then found Barton for an alley-oop dunk. They obtained their largest lead of the night at 79-57 before Jackson Jr. drove for a layup, but then Jokic found Barton for a corner triple
  • Jeff Green put home an aggressive driving layup, and Barton followed with another layup. Bane responded with a three and two free throws on the next possession, and Brooks added a transition layup
  • After a Denver timeout, Jokic dropped in a hook shot, but Bane matched it with a floater. Jokic took it to the rack again for an and-one layup, and then he picked Jones’s pockets which resulted in two Barton free throws
  • Barton added two more free ones along with a Jokic finger roll. Williams and Barton exchanged two’s, and then Jokic compiled his second dunk of the night in transition for a 101-71 lead
  • Clarke recorded an and-one layup after a Memphis timeout, and then Bones converted two free throws. Melton then scored a layup, but JaMychal matched it with a layup, and then Melton ended the quarter with two free throws

Score: 105-78 Nuggets

Scoring leaders: Jokic – 29, Bane – 14

4th Quarter

  • JaMychal and Ziaire Williams exchanged two’s to open the final quarter, and then Bones tallied another three. Clarke rocked the rim for a dunk, and after multiple scoreless possessions, Rivers broke through for a layup
  • Aldama and Tillman scored seven in a row for Memphis, but Rivers ended the run with another layup. Konchar hit a three at the other end to cut the lead to 114-92 and Anderson added a floater
  • Aldama scored on a tip-in shot, forcing Malone to bring back all his starters. Jokic then made his 2,000th point of the season with a hook shot as the crowd erupted in MVP chants, and then he added another layup
  • Jokic continued his hot scoring with another layup which expanded Denver’s lead to 120-97. Memphis converted four consecutive free throws in their two trips down the floor, but with 2:45 left the game was already decided
  • JaMychal rebounded a Howard miss for a layup, but Williams answered with a three. The Grizzlies ended the game with six straight in garbage time

Score: 122-109 Nuggets

Stat leaders

Points: Jokic – 35

Rebounds: Jokic – 16

Assists: Hyland – 7

Silent hero of the game: Aaron Gordon – 22 points, 5 rebounds, and 2 assists on 7-11 from shooting and 3-5 from three

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