How Nikola Jokic made more NBA history with a unique triple-double in the Nuggets’ victory against the Lakers

It seems like every night Nikola Jokic really tops his previous performance. The reigning two-time NBA MVP is having another season worthy of earning him the new Michael Jordan MVP award, and with a thoroughly healthy Denver Nuggets team around him, the team’s success is beginning to reflect his individual achievements. Monday night was no different for the great man, who put his name in the history books once again with a unique stat in a 122-109 win over the Los Angeles Lakers.

Jokic finished the night with 14 points, 16 assists and 11 rebounds, his league-leading 11th triple-double of the season. But it wasn’t just the triple-double that made Jokic’s performance historic, it was the fact that the Serbian big man shot a perfect 100 percent from the field, going 5-for-5 on the night. He became the first player in NBA history to record 10+ points, 10+ rebounds and 15+ assists with a perfect play from the field.

After the game, Nuggets coach Michael Malone praised his star player’s selfless play.

“I’ve been in the league for a long time, I know a lot of players that if they took five shots in 35 minutes they would be angry right now.” Malone said. “Nikolaa doesn’t care if she takes five or 25 [shots]. There aren’t many guys like him that I’ve been with. He just talks about: another triple-double, but a truly selfless superstar.”

Malone is right to praise Jokic’s selflessness. Although he’s still averaging 25 points a night, it’s not uncommon to see him rack up numbers like Monday, where his assists outnumber his scores, as he constantly puts his teammates in position to succeed. The crazy part is that if Jokic needed to put up monster scoring numbers, he can do it with ease. We’ve seen him eclipse 40 points numerous times and score 50 points once, but the scoring pales in comparison to his talent as a midfielder. His 16 assists on Monday night rank as the fifth-highest mark this season, and he’s two shy of his career-high 18 assists, which he had in 2020.

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The combination of passing and scoring efficiency is unlike anything we’ve seen on the body of a 7-footer. He is, hands down, the best passing big man in the NBA, and there’s certainly an argument to be made when you put him alongside some of the best guards to play the game.

His efficiency this season, in which he is shooting a career-high 61.6 percent from the field, puts him at the top of an incredibly short list of players who averaged more than 15 shots per game and shot more than 60. percent from the field. The other names on that list are Shaquille O’Neal, Kevin McHale and Zion Williamson, the latter of whom has done it twice, including this season. But when you factor in rebounding (10.8), the list narrows down to just Jokic and O’Neal. Add in the assists (9.7), and it’s just Jokic alone at the top of the mountain, showing once again how truly unique a player he is.

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