Nikola Jokić has already earned some major NBA accolades in his time with the Denver Nuggets, but what have been his best statistical games?
With two NBA MVP Awards, a bunch of All-Star appearances and an NBA Finals MVP, Nikola Jokić is building quite the career.
The Serbian center, a second-round pick in the NBA Draft back in 2014, has spent his whole career to date playing for the Denver Nuggets.
Jokić made an immediate impact in reaching the All-Rookie First Team in his first season, though it has been in recent years that he has emerged as one of the game’s best players, propelling the Nuggets into relevance after multiple star performances in the NBA playoffs.
In 2022-23, the Joker was the Western Conference finals MVP as Denver ruthlessly swept LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers.
That earned them a place in the NBA Finals against Jimmy Butler and the Miami Heat, where Jokić led Denver to its first championship.
Here’s a look at the best performances of Jokić’s NBA career.
Jokić’s Most Points in a Game
Jokić put up 53 points for the Nuggets against the Phoenix Suns in Game 4 of the Western Conference semifinals on May 7, 2023 to set a new career high.
Despite that huge total from Jokić, the Nuggets lost 129-124 on the road as Phoenix evened the series at 2-2.
Jokic was 20-of-30 shooting, connecting on two 3s and adding 11 points from the foul line. He also had 11 assists and four rebounds, but the Suns still prevailed as Devin Booker and Kevin Durant both scored 36 points.
The Nuggets would recover to clinch it in six games as Jokić incredibly averaged a triple-double in the series (34.5 points, 13.2 rebounds and 10.3 assists).
That 53-point night was the second 50-point game of Jokić’s career, and surprisingly both big totals came in losing efforts.
The Joker also dropped 50 against the Sacramento Kings on Feb. 6, 2021 in a 119-114 loss on the road. He poured in 23 in the fourth quarter in a performance in which he also finished with 12 assists and eight boards.
Jokić had three 3-pointers, made all seven of his free throws and was 20-for-33 shooting, but somehow it was not enough for Denver to come out on top.
Jokić has regularly threatened to add to his list of 50-point games with five regular-season performances in which he’s scored between 46-49 points. But postseason heroics aside, he’s yet to top that effort against the Kings.
In the NBA Finals, Jokić’s career high is 41, which he scored in a losing effort in Game 2 against the Miami Heat in 2023. That was the only loss Denver suffered while taking the series 4-1.
Jokić’s Most Assists in a Game
Jokić dished out 18 assists for the Nuggets in their 124-111 win over the Houston Rockets on Dec. 28, 2020.
In a game in which he also recorded 19 points and 12 boards, Jokić’s passing came to the fore as seven Nuggets scored in double figures.
It marked the second triple-double in three games to start the 2020-21 season from Jokić, which proved to be a statement of intent in a year that would see him go on to win his first MVP Award.
It was a performance that made NBA history. Jokić was the first center since Wilt Chamberlain (who did so in 1968) to hand out 18 assists in a single game.
“It’s just expected for him to pass like that, but 18 assists is a lot – that’s a lot. It’s incredible what he can do and he’s so calm about it,” point guard Jamal Murray said after Jokić’s feat.
The two-time MVP had his most assists in a playoff game against the Suns in Game 3 of their second-round series in 2023.
One game before he set his career high for most points in a game, he recorded a playoff-high 17 assists (as well as 30 points and 17 rebounds) in a huge night.
But the Nuggets lost in Phoenix courtesy of the Suns’ inspired duo of Booker (47 points) and Durant (39).
Those 17 assists (10 came in the first half), were comfortably Jokić’s postseason best as he had never previously managed more than 14 in a playoff game.
Jokić had 14 assists in his first NBA Finals game in 2023 when the Nuggets beat Miami 104-93 in the series opener. That is his highest total in the Finals.
Jokić’s Most Rebounds in a Game
Jokić had an incredible 27 rebounds for the Nuggets in a matchup against the Charlotte Hornets on Dec. 18, 2022.
In a 119-115 win for Denver, Jokić had 20 of his 27 rebounds in the first half and finished up with 40 points and 10 assists for a massive triple-double. Once more it brought comparisons with Chamberlain, who was the only other NBA player to have produced a comparable stat line in a game.
Despite being a prolific rebounder, Jokić has not come close to matching that record since, nor has he got close to the all-time record for boards. He’s had 22 rebounds on three occasions – five short of his best.
It is one of those instances with 22 rebounds that marks Jokić’s postseason high. The pressure was on in Game 7 of the 2020 Western Conference semifinals after Denver had rallied from 3-1 behind to force a decider against the Los Angeles Clippers.
Jokić produced the goods, with his fine rebounding display, 16 points and 13 assists marking yet another triple-double in the playoffs and leading the Nuggets to a 104-89 victory.
Murray contributed 40 points as Denver reached its first Western Conference finals since 2009, though the Nuggets would lose out to a Lakers team that went on to win the championship.
Jokić had seven steals against the Brooklyn Nets in January 2021, which remains his highest total in a single NBA game.
He has never had more than five blocks in a game across the regular season or postseason. The Joker had five blocks in a road win at the Oklahoma City Thunder in April 2017 for his best performance in that category.
With 21 rebounds in Game 3 of the 2023 NBA Finals, Jokić came close to matching his overall playoff high.
Jokić’s Highest Season Averages
As demonstrated by some of the stats he has produced in many of these high-profile games, Jokić has become a prolific scorer.
But his consistency might be even more impressive and Jokić has now averaged at least 24.5 points in each of the last three years.
His second MVP season in 2021-22 was his best to date, as he averaged 27.1 points.
That was also his best rebounding season with 13.8 boards per game.
Showing the versatility of his game, 2022-23 was his top statistical year for assists. Jokic had 9.8 assists per game in the regular season.
In a remarkable series from the Serbian, he averaged 30.2 points, 14.0 rebounds and 7.2 assists in the 2023 NBA Finals en route to winning the MVP.
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