Two Western Conference contenders within the Denver Nuggets and Phoenix Suns went head-to-head to finish the NBA’s five-game Christmas slate on Sunday, and 48 minutes weren’t enough to find out a victor. An extra time period was required to flesh out a winner within the back-and-forth battle that included each teams overcoming double-digit deficits at different times in the sport. Ultimately, it was the Nuggets who walked away with a 128-125 win.
Nikola Jokic led the best way for Denver with a monster triple-double — 41 points, 15 rebounds and 15 assists. Jokic also got some serious help from Aaron Gordon (28 points, eight rebounds) and Jamal Murray (26 points, five assists). The win gave the Nuggets some separation at the highest of the Western Conference standings, as they now have a one game lead over the Pelicans and Grizzlies.
The sport marked the return of Devin Booker for Phoenix after the star guard missed the previous three games with a groin injury. Nevertheless, Booker’s return was short-lived as he exited after just 4 minutes and was ruled out for the rest of the sport after reaggravating the injury. The Suns put forth a valiant effort without their leading scorer, but they fell short in the long run. Landry Shamet led the best way for Phoenix with 31 points and 6 assists, and DeAndre Ayton added 22 points and 16 rebounds.
Overall, the sport was a treat for fans. Luckily, we can’t need to wait too long for the rematch, because the two teams are set to square off against one another again on Jan. 11. Before moving forward, though, here’s a have a look at just a few key takeaways from Denver’s Christmas win over Phoenix.
Christmas history for Jokic
Along with his production against the Suns, Nikola Jokic made some NBA history by becoming just the third player ever to record a 30-point triple-double on Christmas. The opposite two players to achieve this were James Harden and Oscar Robertson. The 41 points that Jokic finished with were also probably the most ever scored in a triple-double on Christmas day and probably the most ever scored by a Nuggets player on the vacation. The triple-double was the seventh of the season for Jokic, and the 82nd of his decorated profession.
Only three players in NBA history have won the MVP Award in three consecutive seasons, but when he continues to play the best way he has recently, Jokic can have a chance to develop into the fourth.
Aaron Gordon’s dunk of the yr contender
Aaron Gordon had an awesome game against Phoenix. In 41 minutes of motion, he had 28 points, 13 rebounds and one monstrous throw down that immediately shoots to the highest of the dunk of the yr contender conversation.
With under 30 seconds remaining in extra time and the Nuggets leading by one, Gordon gathered the ball, galloped down the court and uncorked a ferocious slam over Landry Shamet, who tried to attract a charge. When you didn’t see it the dunk, you will need to see it, and should you already saw it, you will definitely need to see it again. Test it out:
The dunk was initially called as a charge on the court, but upon further review the decision was overturned and the basket counted — plus Gordon got an extra foul shot as Landry was called for a foul. The dramatic delay only added to the impact of the dunk, as did the magnitude of the moment.
Unfortunately for Shamet, that is one in all those dunks that you will see over and all over again in highlights. It was an awesome gift from Gordon to NBA fans.
A temporary return for Booker
Devin Booker’s return to game against didn’t last too long, unfortunately for Phoenix. After missing Phoenix’s previous three games as a consequence of a groin injury, Booker decided to provide it a go on Christmas, and he got off to a solid start. Just over a minute into the sport, Booker beat his defender on the perimeter and slithered into the lane for a flowery finish that gave the Suns their first bucket of the sport.
Booker looked good on that play, nevertheless it would find yourself being his first — and final — basket of the evening. He played just a pair more minutes before being subbed out. Moments later, he was ruled out for the remainder of the sport.
This game might need turned out in a different way had Booker been in a position to proceed, but his long-term health is more necessary to Phoenix than the consequence of a single regular season contest. Now the Suns just need to hope that the injury is not one which lingers for an excessive amount of longer. We’ll likely learn more about Booker’s status in the approaching days.
Phoenix’s bench stepped up
Phoenix’s bench got here to play on this game. Over the course of the competition, the Suns bench outscored Denver’s bench 58-11. That is a staggering 47-point differential in a game that was determined by just three points, but ultimately it still wasn’t enough for the Suns to walk away with a win, as Denver’s starters outscored Phoenix’s first five 117-67. For comparison’s sake, the Suns average 34.5 bench points per game on the season.
Landry Shamet led the best way off of the wood for Phoenix with 31 points and 6 assists, and Damion Lee also added 18 points and eight rebounds. Despite the loss, the hassle was still commendable after the Suns lost Booker just just a few minutes into the sport.