DENVER (AP) — Nikola Jokic scored 18 of his 23 points in the second half to help Denver overcome Stephen Curry’s sharp shooting as the Nuggets held off the Golden State Warriors 114-104 yesterday.
Jokic also had 14 rebounds and 10 assists for his 46th career triple-double. The big man entered averaging a triple-double and leading the NBA in assists.
“I think he’d definitely be in the MVP conversation, which is entirely too early to talk about,” Denver coach Michael Malone said. “That’s the kind of impact he’s had on the game every single night.”
Will Barton and Jamal Murray each added 17 points on a night when seven Nuggets scored in double figures.
Curry finished with 35 points on 14-of-23 shooting. He hit five three-pointers to give him 2,545 for his career. Curry is 15 from tying Reggie Miller for second place on the league’s all-time list.
Miller eagerly counted down Curry’s made threes throughout the TNT broadcast. Ray Allen is first with 2,973.
“Even though he had 35, we made some things tough for him,” Malone said. “We were able to get some stops.”
Limited to four shots in the first half, a more aggressive Jokic took over in the third quarter and helped the Nuggets amass a 14-point advantage. But no lead is safe with Curry and Co around.
The Warriors kept things interesting down the stretch. One of Jokic’s biggest plays was a steal and assist on Monte Morris’ basket with 5:11 remaining that allowed Denver to extend the lead back to 14.
“It’s just a matter of our team connecting and figuring out who we are and what we are,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “We’re not really in sync yet. That’s going to take time.”
There was a little bit of everything in the first half, when Denver led by as many as 17. Leading the list were a flying dunk by Bol Bol, Jokic’s reverse slam on Warriors rookie James Wiseman and a four-point play from Curry.
“We’ve got to be better,” Curry said of the defensive effort. “It doesn’t matter what the adjective is. We’ve got to be better.”