Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic showed exactly why he’s the back-to-back NBA MVP winner and one of the best players in the league.
Jokic led the Nuggets to a 150-126 victory over the Charlotte Hornets on Sunday night and did something nobody has ever seen since Basketball Hall of Famer Wilt Chamberlain was running baseline to baseline.
Jokic scored 40 points on 13-of-26 shooting, including 2-of-4 from the three-point line. He added 27 rebounds, 10 assists and two steals. He’s the first player since Chamberlain to score at least 40 points, grab at least 25 rebounds and dish out at least 10 assists in a game.
Chamberlain did it for the Philadelphia Warriors on March 18, 1968, when he scored 53 points, grabbed 32 rebounds and dished out 14 assists.
Jokic is also the third player in NBA history with at least 35 points, 25 rebounds in a game. Chamberlain did it seven times and Elgin Baylor did it once.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope added 20 points, Aaron Gordon had 19 points and 10 rebounds, and Bruce Brown added 16 points and four assists.
Charlotte shot 42.7% from the field in the loss. LaMelo Ball added 31 points, five assists and five rebounds in the loss. Seven Hornets players, including Ball, were in double figures in scoring.
Denver improved to 18-11 with the win and Charlotte fell to 7-23. The Nuggets are third in the Western Conference and only one game behind the Memphis Grizzlies for the top spot in the conference.