Nikola Jokic Out, Nuggets Still Win

Denver Nuggets showcased their depth and resilience in a 114-106 victory over the Chicago Bulls

by Faruk Imamovic
Nikola Jokic Out, Nuggets Still Win
© Getty Images Sport/Michael Reaves

Despite facing significant challenges, including the ejection of star player Nikola Jokic and the absence of key players, the Denver Nuggets showcased their depth and resilience in a 114-106 victory over the Chicago Bulls.

Coach Michael Malone emphasized the team's winning mentality, stating,

“We have an expectation to win the game no matter who is playing”. This sentiment was echoed in the Nuggets' performance, which was marked by contributions from various players stepping up in the absence of their teammates.

Reggie Jackson led the charge with 25 points, including five 3-pointers, demonstrating Denver's effective long-range shooting. Michael Porter Jr. added 17 points, while Aaron Gordon contributed 14 points, seven rebounds, and six assists.

Julian Strawther's 16 points further bolstered the team's effort. Their collective performance underlined the reigning NBA champions' ability to adapt and thrive, even in challenging circumstances.

Jokic's Ejection and the Nuggets' Response

The game took a dramatic turn with the ejection of Nikola Jokic in the second quarter.

Jokic was dismissed for using language deemed inappropriate by the officials after expressing frustration over a no-call on a missed reverse layup.

"I crossed the line, but sometimes that word doesn't cross the line,” Jokic remarked, acknowledging his part in the incident while choosing to avoid further details to steer clear of an NBA fine.

Despite this setback, the Nuggets maintained their composure and control of the game. The Bulls, led by Coby White with 27 points and Nikola Vucevic with 26 points and 16 rebounds, attempted a comeback but were unable to overturn the deficit.

White's performance was particularly noteworthy, as he continued his impressive scoring run, averaging 26.8 points in his last five games. Denver's ability to hold the lead in the fourth quarter, highlighted by Gordon's key three-pointer, was a testament to their collective strength and strategic gameplay.

The Bulls, still reeling from an overtime loss to Milwaukee that halted their four-game win streak, couldn't find the necessary momentum to overturn Denver's lead.

Nikola Jokic