jokic inserts himself mvp discussion performance

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Nikola Jokic had one of the best games of his career on Sunday.

Denver (18-11, third in Western Conference) beat Charlotte (7-23, last in Eastern Conference) 119-115 and the reigning two-time MVP made a statement as to why he should add a third to his shelf.

ESPN’s “SportsCenter” noted he’s only the third player in NBA history to put up 40 points, 25 rebounds and 10 assists, joining Chamberlain and Elgin Baylor.  

Entering Sunday’s game, Jokic had career-highs in shooting percentage (62.9%) and assists (nine) while averaging 24.6 points and 8.3 rebounds.

As StatMuse notes, he’s been particularly strong over his past five games. 

Since returning from the NBA’s Health and Safety Protocols on Nov. 22, he’s averaging 29.6 points, 12.4 rebounds and 9.2 assists in 13 games. Per NBA.com, Jokic averaged 20.8 points, 9.5 rebounds and 8.9 assists before his three-game absence.

Per Oddschecker, Jokic is fifth (+1300) in MVP odds, behind Jayson Tatum (+275), Giannis Antetokounmpo (+310), Luka Doncic (+350) and Joel Embiid (+1000).

The Nuggets are one game behind the Memphis Grizzlies for first in the Western Conference. A run to the top seed in the conference could be the perfect route for the NBA’s first three-peat at MVP in 37 years. 

Larry Bird won back-to-back-to-back MVPs from 1983-84 through the 1985-86 seasons. Chamberlain (1965-67) and Bill Russell (1960-62) are the only other players to three-peat at MVP. (h/t Basketball Reference)

After the game, Jokic talked to Katy Winge about his eye-popping 27 rebounds. 

“The opposing team has to miss the shot,” he said, then adding that he has to be in “the right spot.” 

He makes it sound so easy. For him, it is. 

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