Denver Nuggets: Player of the game in tight win vs. Memphis

(Photo by AAron Ontiveroz/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
(Photo by AAron Ontiveroz/The Denver Post via Getty Images) /

The Denver Nuggets bounced back in style after their embarrassing loss to the Atlanta Hawks, beating the Memphis Grizzlies 105-99 and taking second place in the Western Conference from the Golden State Warriors.

In a win that looked and felt very similar to the first 10 games for Denver, the Nuggets eventually got the job done at home, even if they used their unorthodox, defense/PITP approach to do it.

The Nuggets held Memphis to 50% shooting from the field and just 33.3% shooting from 3-point range and, of course, just 99 points.

They also had 11 steals and 6 blocks, grabbed 29 defensive rebounds and allowed just 6 offensive rebounds. It was another successful night for the young and much improved Denver defense.

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Their offense continued to underwhelm, however. They managed to make 50.6% of their field goals, but they knocked down just 32.1% of their 3-point attempts.

They dished out just 22 assists, and although their defense created 14 turnovers, they were able to convert just 9 second-chance points. While they have turned a corner in terms of shooting and offense in general over the past 10 games or so, it’s clear they still have a ways to go to reach the offensive heights they have reached in the past.

As has been the case in almost every win this season, the Nuggets won not on the back of one player, but through multiple great performances.

However, there was one player who made his mark on the game, and more so than any other player.

Here is your Nuggets player of the game.

(Note: All stats via or ESPN.)

Player of the game: Nikola Jokic

This certainly isn’t the first time you’ve seen Jokic’s name and “player of the game” in the same sentence, and it definitely won’t be the last.

On a night where Monte Morris, Mason Plumlee, and Jamal Murray all stood out on offense, defense, or both, Jokic had the best game.

He put up 27 points, 12 rebounds, 6 assists, and 2 steals on 64.3% shooting from the field and he knocked down 1 of his 2 3-point attempts. There were few negatives in his performance, putting up 3 turnovers and 3 fouls and drawing 9 free throw attempts, of which he made 8.

He was also a menace on the defensive side of the ball, holding Marc Gasol to 7 points, 2 rebounds, 33.3% shooting from the field, and a BPM of -8. Compare that to Jokic’s BPM of +6, and it’s clear to see who won the battle of the centers.

Jokic also came in clutch towards the end of the game. With 1 minute and 54 seconds left in the game, Jokic grabbed his own miss and put it in the basket from 2-feet away, putting the Nuggets up 100-97.

He played some solid team defense on the next possession, one where Mike Conley missed a driving floater, and then assisted Jamal Murray’s layup with 1:14 left to play to put the Nuggets up 5.

After that, their advantage did not drop under 2 possessions over the Grizzlies.

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With a solid outing on both defense and offense, Jokic cemented himself as the player of the game in what could prove to be an important victory come playoff time.