Nikola Jokic, the Denver Nuggets' two-time MVP, showcased his exceptional talent in a nail-biting game against the Phoenix Suns, leading his team to a 119-111 victory. Jokic, known for his versatile play, spent the majority of the game setting up baskets with his precise passes, but when the game was on the line, he shifted gears to scoring.
Jokic finished the game with an impressive stat line of 21 points and 16 assists, including a crucial layup in heavy traffic with just 24.1 seconds remaining. This key play solidified the Nuggets' hard-fought win. Nuggets coach Michael Malone praised the team's performance, emphasizing their unselfish style of play and dedication to making the right moves on the court.
Suns forward Kevin Durant says the team wasted a great performance from center Jusuf Nurkic in the 119-111 loss.
🎥 @JeremyGSchnell pic.twitter.com/Y93XtAabU4 — Arizona Sports (@AZSports) December 2, 2023
A Tight Game with High Stakes
The game was not without its drama.
The Nuggets, who had built a significant lead in the first half, saw their advantage shrink as the Suns, led by Kevin Durant, fought back valiantly. Durant, who moved into 10th place on the NBA's career scoring list during the game, was a key player for Phoenix, but it wasn't enough to overcome Denver's resilience.
The Suns tied the game three times early in the fourth quarter, but Jokic, along with Michael Porter Jr. and other Nuggets players, hit crucial shots to maintain their lead. Denver's victory was a team effort, with all five starters scoring at least 15 points.
Jackson and Porter were standouts, contributing significantly to the team's total score. For the Suns, Jusuf Nurkic led the charge with a season-high 31 points, but his efforts were overshadowed by a late foul that saw him exit the game.
The Suns, playing without key players Devin Booker and Bradley Beal, couldn't capitalize on their late-game surge. Meanwhile, Durant's milestone achievement was a highlight of the night. He surpassed Moses Malone in career points, showcasing his enduring impact on the game.
However, his shooting struggles in the second half, going 0 for 10 from the field, hindered the Suns' comeback efforts. Both teams were missing significant players due to injuries, but the Nuggets' depth and Jokic's leadership proved to be the difference-makers in this intense matchup.