Nikola Jokic buries winner as Nuggets steal thriller vs. Sixers in 21-point comeback win

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The frenzied, ugly possession couldn’t have ended any sweeter for the Nuggets.

Nikola Jokic buried a jumper with 1.2 seconds remaining, and the Nuggets shocked the 76ers on Friday evening with a 100-97 comeback win. Denver was down 21 factors early within the fourth quarter earlier than Jokic and his star duo associate Jamal Murray seized the highlight.

Jokic saved 16 of his 26 factors for the fourth, however no basket was greater than his game-winning jumper off a move from Paul Millsap. In whole, Murray completed with 22 factors, 11 assists and 5 rebounds. It was maybe his finest all-around sport of the season, contemplating the protection and infectious power he performed with.

Each Millsap and Will Barton drained Three-pointers as a part of the beautiful comeback, which helped offset what had been a foul evening from Three-point vary. The Nuggets completed 9 for 22 from deep, whereas Philadelphia drained 13 of 26 Three-pointers.

Sixers star Joel Embiid fouled out late within the fourth quarter with 19 factors and 15 rebounds. His last foul drew an emotional outburst from Jokic that noticed him barking and embracing with courtside followers.

Through the postgame interview, Jokic was showered with “M-V-P” chants that have been greater than commonplace final season.

Due to a flurry from Murray, the Nuggets momentarily minimize to the deficit to 6 with 5:58 remaining within the third quarter. However from then on, the Sixers closed the quarter on a 19-6 run that stretched the lead as soon as once more. Embiid spearheaded the trouble with a deep Three-pointer together with an and-one to finish the quarter and provides Philadelphia an 84-65 lead.

As much as that time, Philadelphia’s reserves had dominated Denver’s bench to assist complement their starters. However Murray, together with his playmaking and imaginative and prescient, stored competing.

The Nuggets caught the primary main break of the evening when 76ers star level guard Ben Simmons was dominated out with a proper shoulder harm. That successfully restricted Philadelphia’s size on protection and took away their major offensive facilitator.

“When he plays, I can’t think of another starting lineup that has that much length, so when you take him out of the lineup, that takes a little bit of it away,” Nuggets coach Michael Malone stated. “But (Joel) Embiid, (Al) Horford, and Tobias Harris at the 3, 4, 5 present major problems.”

That’s very true for the Nuggets, whose lack of measurement on the wing is most obvious on the defensive finish.

Malone’s greatest concern heading into Friday evening was limiting their turnovers. So long as they’re, the 76ers’ wings clog up passing lanes and create simple transition alternatives. The Nuggets really did a good job of defending the ball within the first half, however they couldn’t purchase a basket.

Denver shot simply 39% over the primary two quarters, together with 1 for 7 from Three-point vary because the 76ers poured in 9 Three-pointers. Consequently, Philadelphia owned a 57-42 lead at halftime. They have been paced by 11 factors every from backup heart Kyle O’Quinn and small ahead Furkan Korkmaz.

“If we’re soft tonight and we don’t work to get open and own the spot where we want to get the ball, they’re going to turn us over and they’ll have us playing on our heels,” Malone stated. “And that can’t be the case.”

Jokic was extra aggressive than he’d been over the previous couple of video games, however his outdoors shot deserted him early. He missed all 4 of his Three-point makes an attempt as a part of an Eight-point, 5-assist half. On a number of events, Barton was the beneficiary of a few of his pinpoint passes and ended up with 11 factors within the first half.

However as has been a difficulty just lately, Jokic struggled on protection in opposition to the extra bodily duo of Embiid and O’Quinn. He additionally picked up a technical foul for arguing a questionable no-call.

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