Jokić scored 27 points and the Nuggets defeated Sands 110-98 | WGN Radio 720

Phoenix (AP) Nikola Jokić challenged his old-fashioned tricks Wednesday night with clever hook shots, three pointers and flatfoot jumpers.

In short, current MVPs are still very similar to MVPs.

The 6-foot-11 Serbs poured 27 points, scored 13 rebounds and led the Denver Nuggets over Phoenix Suns 110-98 in the openers of both teams. The Nuggets recovered from a 16-point deficit in the second half of the second quarter, holding Sands to just 40 points in the second half.

“It’s hell to start the season,” said Denver coach Michael Malone. “But it’s one game and 81 left.”

The 26-year-old Jokić won his first NBAM VP award last season after averaging 26.4 points, 10.8 rebounds and 8.3 assists per game. He was 13 out of 22 from the field on Wednesday and provided some important buckets in the fourth quarter to undo the Sands rally.

Malone said it was clear that Jokić would continue to be an elite player. Currently, the coach is urging Jokić to become a leader and wants to hear his star’s voice in a secret talk every time he times out.

“Early in his career, he grew up, matured, dealt with adversity, and handled references,” Malone said. “He did that. He really got better.”

Sands was playing Game 6 of the NBA Finals three months after losing to Milwaukee Bucks. Phoenix returned much of the same roster, including Chris Paul and Devin Booker’s all-star backcoat, and made another run in the title.

The team has played for the first time since Sands swept the Nuggets in four games in the second round of the Western Conference playoffs last season.

This time Denver was dominant. Will Barton scored 20 points and Michael Porter Jr. added 15.

Mikal Bridges led Phoenix with 16 points. Paul had 15 points and 10 assists. Sands struggled to shoot in the fourth quarter and was controlled by the Nuggets, so he went nearly five minutes without scoring. Denver’s Aaron Gordon had a huge pursuit block during the drought and struck a booker layup on the stand behind the Nuggets bench.

“That’s definitely what we wanted to get,” Gordon said. If you start with your right foot, there is a small reward. See you again. It’s just one game. “

Phoenix led 58-51 in half-time, following the first half of the seesaw, where the nugget gained an early advantage of 25-16, before Sands took the lead of 57-41 in the second half. Denver created a slow gust of buzzer capped by Jokić’s three-pointer, reducing the margin to seven points.

“We missed a lot of shots and put them in transitions, and transition defense was below our standards,” said Monty Williams, director of Sands.

Motivated Eighton

This was Deandre Ayton’s first match since Sands chose not to extend first place overall in Draft Topic’s rookie contracts by Monday’s deadline.

Eighton reportedly wanted the biggest deal. It’s five years and will be worth $ 172 million. Sands was unwilling to make the deal, at least before the season, and both sides ended the negotiations without agreement.

Eighton, 23, changed the course of his career in last year’s playoffs and helped push Sands to the NBA Finals. He shot 66% and provided 15.8 points and 11.8 rebounds per game while providing stellar defense.

Eighton began to thrive on Wednesday, leading Sands with 13 points in the first half. He finished with 15 points and 6 rebounds.

Footprint Center

Sands changed the name of the arena from Phoenix Suns Arena to Footprint Center in the middle of last year’s NBA Finals. Footprint Center is a sustainable technology company that has taken over the title sponsorship.

The new name is not off to a good start. They are now 0-2 by name and have lost Game 5 of the final and the opening round on Wednesday.

Hint in

Nuggets: G Jamal Murray shot before the match. He is rehabilitating a torn left knee ACL that was maintained last season. … Six nuggets scored in double digits.

Suns: Most rosters are the same, but both G Landry Shamet and C JaVale McGee made their Suns debut. Shamet finished with 11 points and Maggie added 6 points and 8 rebounds.


Nuggets: Host San Antonio on Friday night.

Sands: At the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday night.

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Jokić scored 27 points and the Nuggets defeated Sands 110-98 | WGN Radio 720

Source link Jokić scored 27 points and the Nuggets defeated Sands 110-98 | WGN Radio 720

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