Tagged in: Denver Nuggets

Nuggets star Nikola Jokic clears quarantine in NBA’s Orlando bubble

Since Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19 back on March 11, prompting the suspension of the NBA season, dozens of players have sadly also come down with the virus. Thankfully none of them have become seriously ill, but a few, including Spencer Dinwiddie and Taurean Prince, have been forced to sit out of the league’s plan to resume the season at Disney World later this month. 

Denver Nuggets star Nikola Jokic was another who tested positive for the coronavirus, but he will be able to play after returning multiple negative tests, both in his native Serbia, where he was infected, and back in Denver.

While it’s terrific news that Jokic has been cleared, the timing of the tests meant he was unable to join the Nuggets on their flight to Orlando Jokic tested positive for COVID-19 back in June, just a few days after he was spotted hanging out with tennis star Novak Djokovic, who also ended up testing positive.

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The fact that Jokic is already healthy is great news, first and foremost, just for him and his family’s sake.

This virus is extremely unpredictable, and even with healthy people like Jokic, there are no guarantees. 

his virus is extremely unpredictable, and even with healthy people like Jokic, there are no guarantees. 

So that, of course, is the main priority, but also from a basketball perspective, this is big for the Nuggets. They’re in third place in the loaded Western Conference at 43-22 and will need Jokic operating at a high level if they want to improve on last season’s second-round playoff exit. 

How Jokic will fare once play starts obviously remains to be seen, not just because of his ordeal with the virus and the strange circumstances of this bubble, but because he lost a tremendous amount of weight during the quarantine — so much so that he apparently has abs now, according to Nuggets president Tim Connelly. 

While having abs is never a bad thing, it will be attractive to see how Jokic fares with a smaller frame. He’s always been a guy that’s used his bulk to throw opponents around and carve out space, and he might not be able to do that to quite the same extent anymore. 

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Nuggets defeat Lakers in 6th win in a row

Aided by a perfect five-game homestand, the Denver Nuggets hit the road and kept on winning.

Paul Millsap scored 21 points and the Nuggets controlled the second half in beating the Los Angeles Lakers, who were without LeBron James, 128-104 on Sunday night for their sixth win in a row.

”Our last homestand gave us confidence to come on the road and win,” Millsap said. ”We have so many weapons.”

The Nuggets had six players in double figures. 

Gary Harris added 19 points, Nikola Jokic had 18 points, Malik Beasley had 16 points and Will Barton III had 14 points and a career-high-tying 13 rebounds for the Nuggets, who pulled away to a 23-point lead early in the fourth. James missed his first game of the season because of a thoracic muscle strain. That left the Lakers without his 25.8 point average and 10.6 assists.

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”It’s kind of hard to next-man-up LeBron,” said Kyle Kuzma, the only other Laker in double figures with 16 points. ”He does so much. Shots come easier when he’s on the floor because everyone just looks at him.”

With James looking on in street clothes, Anthony Davis did his best to make up for it with 32 points and 11 rebounds. He scored 11 points playing all 12 minutes of the first quarter.

”It’s tough when he’s out but we still got to find ways to win,” Davis said. ”We lost our energy defensively. We got to continue to defend and once we get that edge back we’ll be fine.”

Davis slipped and tweaked his right leg in the third quarter, but felt good enough to play 7 1/2 minutes in the fourth.

”Hopefully nothing significant happens,” he said. The Lakers can’t afford to have Davis go down at the same time as James with a Christmas game versus the Clippers looming. The Western Conference-leading Lakers have lost three in a row since winning seven straight.

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Denver Nuggets at Washington Wizards

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The Denver Nuggets pay a visit to the Washington Wizards tonight at the Verizon Center.

The Nuggets have lost five of their last seven games and will be looking to avoid a third straight loss after last night’s 111-103 loss at Boston. Danilo Gallinari and Will Barton led the team in scoring with 23 points each while Kenneth Faried and Gary Harris added 15 points each, but it still wasn;t enough to beat the Celtics who were led by a season-high 27 points from Avery Bradley. The Nuggets struggled to take care of the ball against the Celtics as they committed a total of 20 turnovers and it was Emmanuel Mudiay who led the team with five turnovers. With the loss, Denver falls to 17-29 on the season and 8-14 on the road.

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Meanwhile, the Wizards have lost four of their last five games and are also looking to avoid a third straight loss after getting blown out by the Raptors in a 106-89 defeat on Tuesday. John Wall had a rough shooting night but still managed to lead the way with 18 points and 14 assists while Otto Porter had a decent game of 15 points on seven of 11 shooting, but the Wizards were always a step slower than the Raptors, especially in the second half where they were outscored by 54-39. With the loss, Washington falls to 20-23 on the season and 10-9 on the road.
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