How Nikola Jokic made even more NBA history with his one-of-a-kind triple-double in Nuggets’ win over Lakers

It seems like Nikola Jokic really does surpass his previous performance every night. The two-time reigning NBA MVP has had another season worthy of giving him the newly named Michael Jordan MVP Award, and with a perfectly healthy Denver Nuggets squad around him, team success is beginning to reflect his individual accomplishments. Monday night was no different for the big man, who made history again with a one-of-a-kind statline in a 122-109 win over the Los Angeles Lakers.

Jokic finished the night with 14 points, 16 assists and 11 rebounds, his 11th triple-double of the season in the league. But it wasn’t just the triple-double that made Jokic’s performance historic, it was the fact that the Serbian big man shot a perfect 100 percent shot from the field to score 5 of 5 that night. He became the first player in NBA history to record a stat line of 10+ points, 10+ rebounds, and 15+ assists while running perfectly off the field.

After the game, Nuggets coach Michael Malone praised his star player’s altruistic play.

“I’ve been in the league for a long time, I know a lot of players who would be furious if they fired five shots in 35 minutes.” said Malone. “Nikola doesn’t care if he takes five or 25 [shots]. There aren’t many guys I’ve dated like him. It just appeals – another triple-double, but a truly selfless superstar.”

Malone is right in praising Jokic’s selflessness. While he’s still averaging 25 points a night, it’s not uncommon for him to put up numbers like Monday’s where his assists outstrip his score as he constantly empowers his teammates to succeed. The crazy part is, when Jokic has had to come up with monster scoring numbers, he can do it with ease. We’ve seen him eclipse 40 points multiple times and score 50 points once, but the scoring pales in comparison to his talents as a playmaker. His 16 assists as of Monday night is the fifth-highest mark this season, and it’s two fewer than his career-high 18 assists he had in 2020.

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The combination of passing and his hitting efficiency is unlike anything we’ve seen from a 7ft body. He’s without a doubt the best passing big man in the NBA, and there’s certainly a point when you put him alongside some of the best guards to play the game.

His efficiency this season, in which he shoots a career-high 61.6 percent from the field, puts him at the top of an incredibly short list of players who averaged over 15 shots per game and shot more than 60 percent from the field. The other names on this list are Shaquille O’Neal, Kevin McHale and Zion Williamson, the latter of whom has done it twice, including this season. But when you factor in rebounds (10.8), the list narrows down to just Jokic and O’Neal. Throw in the assists (9,7) and it’s just Jokic alone on this mountaintop showing once again what a one of a kind player he is.

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