Nikola Jokic had a triple-double with 31 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists as the Denver Nuggets defeated the Memphis Grizzlies 119-110 on Saturday. Jaren Jackson Jr. would lead the Grizzlies with 20 points and 4 rebounds.
After starting off the season surprisingly slow, Nuggets big man Nikola Jokic has returned to All-NBA form. He had maybe his most impressive all-around performance to the demise of the Grizzlies during a Saturday matinee, as he truly put on a show with balanced scoring and ridiculous passes.
“Yeah, well that’s why he’s one of the best players in the league," Memphis Head Coach Taylor Jenkins would say about Jokic. "Rebounding, assists, his teammates find him in the right spots, and he finds his teammates in the right spots. We threw a lot of different coverages at him from pick-and-rolls and the post, but that’s why he’s one of the best players in the league.”
Jaren Jackson Jr. would also comment on his matchup with Jokic
“He’s really strong," said Jackson. "He’s really going to cause some problems. He’s a really good passer, too. It’s kind of pick your poison with him, when he’s hitting the three-ball. You’ve got to make sure you take one thing away and I definitely didn’t do a good job of that tonight. I definitely could have been better. He’s a good player.”
After a terrible 11 point first quarter the Grizzlies trailed by as many as 23 points in the first half but would cut the lead to 3 in the third quarter. Denver would jump back up on the Grizzlies behind performances by Jokic and former University of Memphis star Will Barton, who added 20 points, 6 rebounds and 7 assists on the night.
Coach Taylor Jenkins blamed a slow start in the first quarter on the team's inability to overcome the Nuggets, who are currently second in the Western Conference with a 22-9 record.
“Obviously, it was a tough first quarter for us," said Jenkins. "We were not able to get a lot of shots to fall, both lay-ups and threes during the first quarter and a half. But, I love our resolve. Our guys were great at half-time and making a run to close out the second quarter. We cut it to three at one point in the third. It got back to seven in the 4th quarter and they made a run. So, for our guys to come in here and compete like that and come up short is obviously unfortunate. But, I’m proud of a lot of things we did tonight.”
Jaren Jackson on the team's comeback:
“A lot of better ball movement and a lot of side-to-side play," Jackson said on what changed when his team mounted a comeback to end the second quarter and begin the third. "When we trust our ball movement and trust our pick-and-rolls, we just have much more action with more rhythm, and everyone gets open looks.”
Jackson on if it’s difficult to keep the energy up after they came from behind:
“I mean, not really. It’s all apart of the game," said Jackson. "But, if they’re hitting shots, it makes it hard for sure. They were hitting a lot of shots today, and they were moving really well. So, credit to them.”
The Grizzlies bounce back with a game today at 7pm at home against the Charlotte Hornets. During their last matchup, Ja Morant heroics won the game at the buzzer on the road.