Nikola Jokic Lifts Denver Nuggets Past Washington Wizards

Denver Nuggets superstar Nikola Jokic got back on the MVP path last night against the Washington Wizards. For only the fourth time this month, the five-time All-Star cleared 30+ points, totalling 31 points, 12 rebounds, seven assists, and three steals in a 118-104 win.

Jokic hit 12 of his 16 field-goal attempts and all five of his free throws, raising his league-leading true shooting percentage to an even more preposterous .705. No player in the NBA is as productive or efficient on offense: his PER (31.9), box plus-minus (13.2), and win-share per 48 (.316) all lead the league.

Despite losing five of their last eight games, the Nuggets are 49-24 and remain first in the Western Conference. It's been difficult to discern whether their recent run of mediocrity is a result of malaise or structural flaws, so efforts like last night's are a welcome sight. They remain 3.5 games ahead of the second-place Memphis Grizzlies, but if Jokic has any interest in winning a third-straight MVP (a big if), they'll need to finish strong.

The Nuggets host the Milwaukee Bucks in a battle of top seeds on Saturday night.

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