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Jokic Outduels Wembanyama In Nuggets’ 110-105 Win Over Spurs

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Give this one to Nikola Jokic because Victor Wembanyama, who is aiming to win his third MVP trophy soon, narrowly missed outdueling the star.

Jokic outperformed the front-runner for Rookie of the Year with 42 points on Tuesday night as Denver defeated the San Antonio Spurs 110-105 to reclaim the top spot in the Western Conference.

Jokic also had six assists and 16 rebounds. With 23 points, 15 rebounds, 8 assists, and 9 blocks, Wembanyama was quite productive. Jokic claimed that he had to do so in order to score three of his points on uncommon dunks while playing against the outstanding youngster.

Jokic added, “He had like 600 blocks tonight, but we got the win,” as Denver overtook Oklahoma City at the top of the Western Conference playoff standings.
The Nuggets (53-23) took a half-game lead over Oklahoma City, which lost 109-105 at Philadelphia earlier Tuesday night. The Minnesota Timberwolves (52-23) kept pace with Oklahoma City when they beat Houston 113-106.

A 103-103 stalemate was broken by Jokic’s hook shot, but with one minute left, Wembanyama’s layup at the other end tied the score once more.

Wembanyama missed a 3-pointer with 18 seconds remaining, but the Spurs wasted 10 seconds before Wembanyama fouled Jokic, who hit both free throws with 8 seconds left. Michael Porter Jr. finished with 15 points and a career-high 16 rebounds.
Despite missing multiple injured starters, Wembanyama led the Spurs to a close upset over the reigning NBA champions, and Spurs coach Gregg Popovich expressed his happiness with the performance.

“That is among the most intensely competitive games I have been in in a long time,” Popovich remarked. “In trying conditions, these players just played for 48 minutes. Their 48-minute effort was the best I’ve seen all year.” And like I’ve said for  a few years, losing stinks, but it’s truly enjoyable to see how far they’ve come this season.
After attempting to keep up with Jokic and spending 34 difficult minutes in Denver’s thin air, Wembanyama was worn out.

Wembanyama described competing against Jokic as “very challenging,” noting that the altitude was “only one problem among several.” Similar to how we must adjust to many other circumstances, we must adapt to this.

Jokic, for example, made 18 shots, twice as many as Wembanyama did.

Even with the Spurs missing Devin Vassell, Jeremy Sochan, and Keldon Johnson, all suffering from foot injuries, San Antonio was no pushover for the Nuggets, who were without point guard Jamal Murray (knee) for a sixth straight game.

The Spurs secured a double-digit victory against Denver’s Wembanyama, who missed 20 shots but made up for it with his passing and defense.

Wembanyama, who is making leaps in various areas, is expected to be a great player in the NBA. Denver’s best defender, Aaron Gordon, praised Wembanyama’s humility, work ethic, and hunger.

Denver’s Jokic adjusted his game against Wembanyama, altering the arc of his shots and getting extra space in the post. While he didn’t do a good job today, Jokic believes that Wembanyama will be a bigger problem when he learns and figures it out. Popovich is looking forward to more Wemby vs. Joker matchups, starting with a rematch in San Antonio on April 12.

(AP)

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