Early in Monday’s game against the Denver Nuggets, Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young made the highlight reels at Nikola Jokic’s expense.
When Jokic switched to Young on a pick-and-roll on the perimeter, Young delivered a perfect pass between Jokic’s legs to set up Alex Len for an and-one layup.
This is what’s commonly known as a nutmeg, parlance borrowed from the soccer world that designates the victim of said between-the-legs pass as a subject of embarrassment.
Jokic goes off
Jokic responded with the best scoring game of his career. The 2018 All-NBA center proceeded to drop 47 points along with eight rebounds, five assists and zero turnovers in a 123-115 victory. His previous career high was 43 points in a playoff game last season against the San Antonio Spurs.
It was an efficient effort that saw Jokic shoot 16-of-25 from the floor.
He wasn’t just racking up stats in a blowout over an inferior team. The Hawks gave the Nuggets a game in Atlanta, taking a 31-29 first-quarter lead and keeping things close until the game’s late stages.
The win staved off a mini-slump for the Nuggets, who risked racking up a third loss in the fourth game of a five-game road trip. The Nuggets lost to the Houston Rockets on Tuesday and Washington Wizards on Saturday.
Instead of logging a bad loss against the Hawks, the Nuggets enter Wednesday’s game at the Dallas Mavericks with a 2-2 split on their road trip.
Welcome aggression from Jokic
The scoring outburst was a welcome sight for Nuggets fans, who have seen Jokic’s scoring dip from 20.1 points per game in 2018 to 18.1 points this season. A more aggressive Jokic is generally good news for the Nuggets’ chances.
Denver improves to 25-11 with the win to remain in second place in the Western Conference while the Hawks drop to 8-29.
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