DENVER (AP) – Nikola Jokic plans to spend an off day at the swimming pool with his daughter. He’s not going to spend a moment thinking about basketball. The Denver big man has certainly earned a break.
An exhausted Jokic had 35 points and 13 rebounds in more than 36 minutes of action to help the Nuggets hold off the Golden State Warriors 108-105 yesterday.
Reggie Jackson, filling in for an injured Jamal Murray, added 20 points to help the defending champion Nuggets improve to an NBA-best 8-1 overall and 6-0 at home.
“We feel like it’s a good group of guys and we are playing the right way,” Jokic said. “I think that’s why we’re winning the games.”
Jokic played the entire third quarter in an effort to help out a struggling bench unit. He also exerted energy trying to fend off Warriors big man Kevon Looney.
Jokic had a chance to wrap it up with 15 seconds left and the Nuggets up 107-105, but missed two free throws. Stephen Curry’s floater in the lane to tie it up was off the mark and the ball went out of bounds off the Warriors. Jackson hit one of two free throws with 3.5 seconds remaining, and Klay Thompson couldn’t get a shot off at the buzzer.
“I thought we competed at a high level,” said Thompson, who had 15 points. “We were right there, gave ourselves a chance to win in a very hard place to win.”
Michael Porter Jr scored 17 points for Denver, and Aaron Gordon added 14 points and 11 rebounds.
Curry, fresh off winning the Western Conference player of the week award, was hounded all night, mostly by Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and finished with 23 points.
“I thought that our bench struggled tonight,” Nuggets coach Michael Malone said. “Our young guys, I didn’t think were really prepared to come into the game and play tonight.
First time I’ve seen that this season and they’ll learn from it.”