Nikola Jokic Dominates in Denver Nuggets Win Over Philadelphia 76ers

In what was supposed to be a battle between the NBA's two leading MVP candidates, the Denver Nuggets defeated the Philadelphia 76ers 116-111 on Monday night. With 76ers superstar Joel Embiid on the bench, Nuggets center Nikola Jokic logged yet another eye-popping triple-double, compiling 25 points, 17 rebounds, 12 assists, and two blocks.

Jokic hit a ridiculously efficient eight of 11 field goal attempts and nine of his 11 free throws. It was his league-leading 29th triple-double of the season and his 15th game with 15 or more rebounds. He's just short of averaging a triple-double for the season at 24.9 points, 11.9 rebounds, and 9.9 assists per game over his 67 appearances. As ever, he remains an advanced stats god, leading the NBA in true shooting percentage (.704), player efficiency rating (31.9), win share per 48 (.319), and box plus-minus (+13.3)

The Nuggets are 51-24 and remain first in the Western Conference. They appear to have pulled themselves out of a slump that included four losses in five games. They've now won four straight and sport a 3.5-game lead over the second-seeded Memphis Grizzlies with only seven games left to go. However, that blip in an otherwise splendid season could cost Jokic his third-straight MVP. Embiid has closed the gap by leading the 76ers to a comparable 49-26 record, and his 33.3 points per game lead the NBA. The advanced stats favor Jokic, but voter fatigue and a listless closing stretch of the season could cost him.

The Nuggets are back in action Thursday night against the New Orleans Pelicans.

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