The Denver Nuggets lost to the Phoenix Suns in Game 3, but it wasn’t for lack of trying on Nikola Jokic’s part. In the face of Devin Booker and Kevin Durant going crazy, the former two-time MVP put his team on his back. Unlike Booker’s fiery scoring, though, Jokic dominated the game in a completely different way. Saying he stuffed the stat sheet feels like a massive understatement after he dropped 30 points, 17 rebounds (!!!) and 17 assists (!!!). This was Nikola Jokic’s ninth playoff triple-double, matching a record set by Wilt Chamberlain, per ClutchPoints.
Nikola Jokic records the 9th triple-double in his playoff career, matching Wilt Chamberlain for the most by a Center in NBA history
(via @ESPNStatsInfo) pic.twitter.com/R2nDzrpWQs
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) May 6, 2023
Wilt records hold a special place in many NBA fans’ heart. Most Wilt records are almost-unbreakable, so to see someone even tie those records is insane. Nikola Jokic is one of the few stars today who have, on multiple occasions, done something that only Wilt previously did. The Nuggets star is easily one of the most dominant forces in the NBA today.
Unfortunely, Jokic’s insane game wasn’t enough to overcome the sheer brilliance of the Suns’ star duo. The Nuggets struggled to contain Booker and Durant in Game 3 properly. Booker, in particular, went off for 47 points on insane efficiency. It was an insane game from Phoenix, who was missing their point guard Chris Paul due to injury.
If there’s an encouraging takeaway for the Nuggets in this game, though, it’s the margin of defeat. Despite getting bombarded by Booker and Durant, the Suns only won by seven points. Granted, Nikola Jokic won’t go for 30-17-17 every single game, too. However, it’s worth noting that Jokic’s regression to his usual mean isn’t too far off from his Game 3 masterclass.
Jokic and the Nuggets will take on the Suns again in Game 4. If they take a 3-1 series lead heading into Denver after that game? Things will be looking pretty good for them moving forward.
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