Friday in Miami, Nikola Jokic scored 26 points and recorded a triple-double as the Denver Nuggets defeated the defending NBA champions, the Golden State Warriors, 128-123.
Jokic, the reigning and two-time NBA Most Valuable Player, guided Denver to a well-deserved victory at the Chase Center in San Francisco after the Nuggets humiliated the Nuggets midweek.
Seven Denver players scored at least 10 points, headed by the Serbian superstar Jokic, who also had 12 rebounds and 10 assists.
Stephen Curry led Golden State in scoring with 34 points, but the Warriors were unable to complete a second-half comeback after trailing by 18 points at halftime.
The Nuggets scored 70 points in the first half, including 40 in the first quarter, but were gradually hauled in down the line, with the Warriors closing to within one point with 14 seconds remaining following a steal and basket by Jordan Poole.
However, a beautiful length-of-the-court pass from Jokic set up Bruce Brown’s dunk, which gave Denver a three-point advantage to seal the victory.
It is difficult to play upstream against a good team, but the deficit was too great to overcome.
Morant the “ignition”
In other games, Memphis Grizzlies player Ja Morant scored 49 points as his team defeated the Houston Rockets 129-122.
Houston led by 16 points at one point in the second quarter before going into halftime with a 70-62 advantage.
In the second half, Morant led a resurgent Memphis team to a thrilling victory.
Morant stated, “I’m aware that I’m the team’s spark.” “As a leader, I am aware that I must do so. This is my responsibility, which is why I came out to try to get us back into the game.
Without the help of my teammates, I would not have been able to play as well as I did tonight.
Elsewhere, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown performed admirably once more as the Boston Celtics defeated the Miami Heat by a score of 111-104 to retain their undefeated start to the season.
Tatum, who scored 35 points in Boston’s season-opening victory over Philadelphia on Tuesday, unleashed a 29-point outburst as the Celtics defeated their Eastern Conference opponents in Florida on the road.
Derrick White and Grant Williams scored 10 points each to round out Boston’s double-digit scorers.
In two of the previous three postseasons, the two Eastern Conference foes met in the playoffs, as they did on Friday night.
Tatum told ESPN, “I love playing against the Heat because we have a history together over the past few years.”
“They make your team stronger. They have a lot of pride, many terrific players, and a fantastic coach. They never give up, so playing against them is always a good test because you know it will be a battle.”
Jonas Valanciunas led the scoring as the New Orleans Pelicans defeated the Charlotte Hornets 124-112 on the road to preserve their undefeated record.
Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving combined for 57 points as the Brooklyn Nets defeated the Toronto Raptors 109-105 to avenge their season-opening setback.
The Nets overcame a 10-point third-quarter deficit to clinch victory thanks to Durant’s 27 points and Irving’s 30 points, including five three-pointers, led by Irving.
Atlanta improved to 2-0 with a 108-98 victory over the Orlando Magic, with Trae Young leading the Hawks in scoring with 25 points.
Paolo Banchero, the number one overall choice in this year’s NBA Draft, contributed 20 points to Orlando’s total.
Washington is also undefeated after two games after defeating the Chicago Bulls 102-100.
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