Nikola Jokic set a Denver Nuggets playoff record with 43 points but could not prevent his team from falling to a 120-103 loss to the San Antonio Spurs.
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Known primarily for his elite passing skills, the Serbian center embraced the role of go-to scorer in Game 6 and finished one assist shy of a triple-double.
Jokic described his 43-point, 12-rebound, nine-assist effort as “probably the best in my career, but not enough”.
It was the biggest single-game points haul of his career. He connected on 19 of his 30 shots, making 2-of-6 from three-point range along with 3-of-4 free throws.
The Nuggets will now host the Spurs in a winner-takes-all Game 7 at Pepsi Center in the early hours of Sunday morning. The victor will face the Portland Trail Blazers in the Western Conference semi-finals.
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Jokic opened his account with a tipped putback a couple of minutes into the game before showcasing superb footwork as he bamboozled Spurs defender Jakob Poetl in the low post before scoring with a floater.
In the second quarter, Jokic connected with a free-throw line jumper with 9:15 remaining. A minute later, with the shot clock winding down, he drained a three-pointer from the left wing. He had 16 points at half-time.
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Jokic poured it on in the third quarter, scoring 17 points as the Nuggets fought to keep pace with the Spurs. He used a spin move to power past DeMar DeRozan to score at the rim before latching onto a Jamal Murray feed off a pick-and-roll for another basket.
Jokic added 10 more points in the fourth quarter but they all came after the Spurs scored the first eight points of the period to build their advantage to 98-85.
Despite Jokic’s efforts, there was no way back for the Nuggets.
Game 7 takes place in Denver in the early hours of Sunday morning (3am) – watch live on Sky Sports Arena.
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