Aaron Gordon made a big 3-pointer to help his Denver Nuggets get a win over the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday night, but Nikola Jokic deserves some recognition for helping to make the shot happen.
Jokic had a monster game for the Nuggets, scoring 49 points with 14 rebounds and 10 assists. He was constantly getting double-teamed by the Clippers, including in overtime when Amir Coffey helped Ivica Zubac as time was ticking down.
Because he was double-teamed, Jokic knew that meant he had one teammate unguarded. He located that teammate — Gordon who was on the other end of the court, setting up for a 3-point shot. Not only did Jokic locate him and attempt the pass, but the pass hit Gordon perfectly in the chest — exactly where a shooter wants the ball:
Gordon nailed the clutch shot as part of his 28-point game. But Jokic earned that assist the hard way.
Not only does he have great on-court intelligence and execution, but his accuracy with his passing is unreal. He couldn’t have put it in a better spot for Gordon. That’s why he’s the reigning league MVP.
Draymond Green is the latest NBA player to criticize the NBA’s handling of COVID positives and postponed games.
The Golden State Warriors’ scheduled game against the Denver Nuggets was postponed Thursday due to COVID issues among the Nuggets. The postponement comes despite the fact that the NBA recently adjusted rules to allow teams to sign extra players to replace those placed in health and safety protocols.
After the postponement was announced, Green voiced his frustration with the league on social media. In a series of tweets, Green questioned why the Warriors had to play against Denver with players sidelined, but the Nuggets’ issues led to a postponement.
The Nuggets beat the Warriors 89-86 on Tuesday, a game Golden State played without Green and Jordan Poole. The Warriors still would have been without Green Thursday had the game been played, but were poised to get Poole back against the shorthanded Nuggets.
Green’s point is similar to one another NBA star hinted at recently. Almost every team is playing through COVID issues. Players are fine with that, but they will not like it when some teams have games postponed while other teams play on.
Ultimately, Green has a point, but the league would as well. The Nuggets needed eight players to play, and there is not really an alternative to postponing if they could not get replacements signed and through protocols in time to play.
One notable NBA name is ready to don his superhero cape and answer the Denver Nuggets’ distress call.
Retired Nuggets great Alex English made a funny offer to the team this week amid the leaguewide player absences due to health and safety protocols.
“I need to come out of retirement with all these players in Health and Safety protocols!” he wrote on Twitter. “@nuggets let me know if you need me.”
The Basketball Hall of Famer English is one of the greatest Nuggets ever. He made eight All-Star teams and three All-NBA teams in Denver. English also won a scoring title and posted over 25,000 points in his NBA career.
We have already heard some hilarious stories about old-timers trying to get back in the league with all the open roster spots right now. Though he is now 67, English could probably still drop 20 points for the Nuggets in his sleep.
Photo: Jan 13, 2019; Denver, CO, USA; American retired basketball player Alex English at the free throw line before the start of the game between the Portland Trail Blazers against the Denver Nuggets at the Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Jamal Murray could soon be arriving for the Denver Nuggets like Thor dropping into Wakanda.
Chris Vernon of The Ringer hinted in a recent episode of “The Mismatch” that Murray may potentially be in line for an early return to action.
“I ran into somebody last night that would know, and they told me February for Jamal,” said Vernon.
The dynamic guard Murray has been out since mid-April after tearing his left ACL towards the end of the 2020-21 regular season. Denver has not offered much by way of a return timetable for Murray. But ACL injuries usually take about 10-to-12 months for NBA players. A February return would put Murray on the early end of that at roughly 10 months.
The Nuggets do not conclude the regular season until Apr. 10, which would give Murray plenty of time to get back up to speed before the playoffs. But at just 13-13 right now, Denver is struggling to stay afloat. Though players like Aaron Gordon, Will Barton, and rookie Bones Hyland have been ascending, both Murray and Michael Porter Jr. are sidelined, leaving reigning MVP Nikola Jokic to do most of the heavy lifting.
The 24-year-old Murray definitely sounds encouraged by his progress, and his return would be nothing short of manna from heaven for the Nuggets.
Photo: Feb 8, 2020; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Denver Nuggets guard Jamal Murray (27) reacts in the first half against the Phoenix Suns at Talking Stick Resort Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sports
The Miami Heat players were apparently waiting for the Denver Nuggets after Monday’s game like Bishop behind Q’s locker in “Juice.”
Photographer Aaron Ontiveroz of the Denver Post posted an incredible picture to his Instagram page of the Heat gathering in the hallway after Denver’s Nikola Jokic delivered a cheap shot on Miami’s Markieff Morris (video here). Ontiveroz writes that the Heat players, led by Jimmy Butler, were looking to confront the Nuggets but that security intervened.
In the picture, you can see Butler and other Heat players (including Kyle Lowry, Bam Adebayo, and Dewayne Dedmon) glaring menacingly. Andy Elisburg, the GM of the Heat, appears to be the one preventing them from going any further. None of Miami’s players were made available to the media for comment after Monday’s game.
That amazing picture of the Heat definitely adds to the overall surrealness of the Jokic-Morris episode. We haven’t seen anything quite like this one since the incident that took place in Los Angeles a few years ago.
Photo: Jan 22, 2020; Miami, Florida, USA; Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler (22) controls the ball against the Washington Wizards during the second half at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Nikola Jokic will likely be suspended for the cheap shot he took at Markieff Morris on Monday night, but the fallout from the scrum is now extending well beyond the court.
Jokic delivered a blow to Morris’ back late in the Denver Nuggets’ win over the Miami Heat. The angry reaction came in response to Morris fouling Jokic with a hard shot to the ribs. Morris was injured on the play, but he eventually walked off the court under his own power. You can see the video of the incident here.
After the game, Morris’ twin brother Marcus took to Twitter to issue a warning for Jokic. He pointed out how Jokic “waited until bro turned his back” and wrote “NOTED,” meaning he will not forget the cheap shot from the reigning NBA MVP. Now, Jokic’s brothers are also standing up for their family member.
The Twitter account @JokicBrothers was created on Tuesday morning. It seemed like the sole purpose was to threaten Marcus Morris.
While most people initially assumed that the account was fake, it apparently is not. Jokic’s brothers confirmed to Mike Singer of the Denver Post that they created the account.
Jokic’s brothers, Nemanja and Strahinja, are well known within the NBA community. They go everywhere with Nikola and have a reputation for being intimidating guys. The Nuggets star told Lee Jenkins of Sports Illustrated years ago that Strahinja “once held down my arms and threw knives all around my head” as punishment for refusing to climb a tree.
If you remember, Jokic’s brothers looked like they wanted a piece of Phoenix Suns star Devin Booker during the playoffs last year when Nikola was ejected over an altercation with Booker. You can see the video here.
The NBA will almost certainly ask the Morris twins and the Jokic brothers to tone it down. Whether or not they’ll listen is another discussion.
H/T Loyal LBS reader Brett K
It is proving to be a big day for the “Free Bol Bol” crowd on social media.
The Denver Nuggets big man caused a stir this week by hinting on Twitter that he wants to be traded. Bol “liked” a tweet from a fan imploring Denver to trade him instead of having the 21-year-old “riding the bench for three years straight.” Take a look.
Bol, the son of late NBA legend Manute Bol, has since “unliked” the tweet.
Due to injury concerns, Bol fell to the No. 44 pick in 2019 and had his draft rights acquired by the Nuggets. But Bol has gotten virtually no playing time since then, seeing just 6.3 minutes per game over 40 total appearances in his three seasons with Denver. This year has been particularly bad so far for Bol, who has taken the floor just once for three minutes in garbage time.
The Nuggets have generally done a good job developing young players. Stars Nikola Jokic, Jamal Murray, and Michael Porter Jr. are all homegrown. But Bol is simply not getting enough minutes in Denver. He is 7-foot-2 with both three-point shooting and ball-handling ability, so many would like to see Bol get more of a chance to capitalize on his ridiculous upside. It sounds like Bol himself wants the same as well.
Photo: Mar 28, 2021; Denver, Colorado, USA; Denver Nuggets center Bol Bol (10) warms up before the game against the Atlanta Hawks at Ball Arena. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
After his trade to the Denver Nuggets last season, veteran forward Aaron Gordon appears to have found a home.
According to Dan Singer of the Denver Post, there is “mutual optimism” that Gordon and the Nuggets will agree to a contract extension. The deal could be finalized as early as this week.
Gordon is entering the final year of the four-year, $80 million deal he signed with the Orlando Magic. While eligible for a four-year, $88 million extension, the new deal is more likely to be for two to three years with an annual value of about $20 million.
Gordon turned out to be a good fit for Denver after the team acquired him at the trade deadline. The 25-year-old’s offensive numbers did suffer, as he averaged only 10.2 points per game. However, he was often tasked with guarding the opponent’s top threat, making him a vital part of the lineup.
After Gordon vented his frustrations with Magic management, you’d figure he’d be careful about a long-term commitment to a team. He’s clearly confident the Nuggets will keep contending for at least the next few seasons.
A Phoenix Suns fan who called his shot in about as aggressive a manner as possible went viral after the team completed its sweep of the Denver Nuggets on Sunday night.
During Game 3 of the Western Conference semifinal series, a Suns fan got into a shoving match with two Nuggets fans. Things took a more serious turn when one of the Denver fans threw a couple of swings at the Suns fan. The Phoenix supporter then proceeded to pummel the guy who hit him. After he was done dominating both Nuggets fans, the Suns fan shouted “Suns in 4!”
Well, he was right. Phoenix finished off Denver with a 125-118 win in Game 4 on Sunday, and the “Suns in 4” guy went viral.
No one really emerges as a winner when grown men fight over sports teams, but it’s hard to imagine anyone looking worse than those two Nuggets fans.
Tempers flared a bit on the court between the Suns and Nuggets (video here), but Phoenix dominated the series. The Suns will now await the winner of the Jazz-Clippers series, which Utah leads 2-1.
The Denver Nuggets’ chances of making a deep postseason run took a huge hit on Tuesday, as Jamal Murray will miss the remainder of the season with a knee injury.
Murray has been diagnosed with a torn ACL in his left knee, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.
Murray limped off the court during Monday’s game against the Golden State Warriors late in the fourth quarter. There was initially some optimism that the injury might not be serious after he refused a wheelchair, but unfortunately an MRI has confirmed the bad news. You can see a video of the play here.
The Nuggets entered Tuesday with a record of 34-20 and in fourth place in the Western Conference. Murray has averaged 21.2 points, 4.8 assists and 4.0 rebounds per game. He had been dealing with right knee soreness prior to Monday, which led him to miss the previous four games.