Riding an 11-game win streak, the Utah Jazz entered Ball Arena in Denver on Sunday as the league's hottest team.
But what's a hot team to a hot-shooting player?
Denver Nuggets superstar centre Nikola Jokic had something to say about the streak, coming out of the gates firing on all cylinders, exploding for 22 points (on 9-for-11 shooting) in the opening frame as the Nuggets took a 43-29 lead into the second quarter.
Nikola Jokic drops a CAREER QUARTER-HIGH 2⃣2⃣ in the 1st Q!- NBA (@NBA) January 31, 2021
📺: NBA TV pic.twitter.com/aNqmBe0Skg
Jokic's 22 points were the most that he had scored in a quarter up to this point in his career, breaking the previous record of 21 points, set on Jan. 8, 2020.
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The second quarter spelled more dominance for the two-time All-Star, who scored another 11 points (on 4-for-6 shooting) to bring his total for the night up to 33 points on 13-for-17 shooting, as Denver took a 79-54 lead into the halftime break. Jokic's 33 first-half points are also a new career-high, breaking his previous high of 27 points, set on Jan. 6, 2020.
33 for Joker.- NBA (@NBA) January 31, 2021
At the half. 😳
📺: NBA TV pic.twitter.com/XX7dsg8AU2
It's tied for the third-best scoring half in Nuggets franchise history and is tied for the highest-scoring first half in franchise history.
|1||Carmelo Anthony||Dec. 10, 2008||MIN||2nd||36||13||20||4||6||7||1|
|2||Jamal Murray||Jan. 3, 2019||SAC||2nd||34||12||20||6||10||6||3|
|3||Nikola Jokic||Jan. 31, 2021||UTA||1st||33||13||17||4||4||5||3|
|4||Allen Iverson||Dec. 5, 2007||LAL||1st||33||12||15||0||0||0||2|
|5||Allen Iverson||Mar. 17, 2007||PHX||2nd||31||10||14||2||3||2||5|
|6||Nick Van Exel||Nov. 11, 2001||MIL||1st||31||10||17||5||9||5||5|
Jokic entered the second half just 14 points shy of his career-high 47 points, set in a win over the Atlanta Hawks on Jan. 6, 2020.
In the third quarter, Jokic picked up right where he left off in the first half, scoring another 10 points - thanks in large part to 6-for-6 shooting from the line in the frame - bringing his total for the game to 43 but what was once a large cushion for the Nuggets has been worn down.
Utah knocked down eight triples in the third quarter alone, outscoring 37-24 to enter the fourth frame down just 12 points. With the game tighter, Jokic saw more time in the fourth frame, where he added four points to tie his career-high of 47 points.
🚨 47 POINTS 🚨- Denver Nuggets (@nuggets) January 31, 2021
That ties Nikola's career-high! pic.twitter.com/lFGadwx5hT
In 36 minutes of action, Jokic finished with 47 points, 12 rebounds and five assists, recording his 20th double-double of the season in as many games. The 25-year-old is now 14 games shy of tying Hall of Famer Bill Walton, who recorded 34 straight double-doubles to open the 1976-77 NBA season.
Another game ... another double-double for Nikola Jokic.#MileHighBasketball pic.twitter.com/srtVmoh6GQ- AltitudeTV (@AltitudeTV) January 31, 2021
Thanks in large part to Jokic's performance, Denver earned a 128-117 win to snap Utah's win streak at 11 games.
Jokic has an opportunity to inch closer to Walton's mark when Nuggets get back to action on Monday as they host familiar faces in Jerami Grant, Mason Plumlee and the Detroit Pistons.
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