Jokić launches a shot at the buzzer to seal an astonishing road win for the Nuggets. Loren Elliott/AP CNN —
Superstar center Nikola Jokić hit a spectacular game-winning shot against the Golden State Warriors on Thursday, banking in a three-pointer at the buzzer from the near the half-court line as the Denver Nuggets escaped California with a 130-127 win.
With 3.6 seconds left in the game and the game locked at 127, Nuggets forward Aaron Gordon inbounded the ball to Jokić well inside Denver’s half.
The match-up looked certain to head to overtime, but the two-time NBA MVP had other ideas. Jokić took three dribbles, made his way to the right sideline and heaved a deep, rainbow shot over Warriors center Kevon Looney.
Golden State players and fans inside the Chase Center could only watch in dismay, as the shot rattled in off the glass as time expired.
When asked by Charles Barkley on the broadcast after the game if he “called glass” on his shot, the Serbian center responded in typical Jokić fashion.
“My friend, it went in. I’m happy,” he said.
Jokić was mobbed by his teammates after the game. Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images
Jokić’s stunning buzzer-beater was the exclamation point on the unlikeliest of wins for Denver. After a relatively tight game through the first half, the Warriors pulled away in the third quarter, outscoring the defending NBA champions 44-24.
Things looked bleak for the Nuggets as they found themselves down 18 with under seven minutes to go in the fourth quarter.
However, powered by a near-triple double from Jokić, Denver stormed back and erased the deficit late in the quarter, with Jokić knocking down a short jumper to tie the game at 127, before a costly Steph Curry turnover allowed the Nuggets to call time out to set up the game-winner.
Nuggets coach Mike Malone was pleased with his squad’s effort after the game.
“When you get down to this team, it’s very easy to drop your head in this building with that crowd,” he said after the game. “That’s probably the thing I was most pleased with tonight is that everybody – coaches, players – we just stayed the course even after that third quarter.”
‘The Joker’ posted 34 points, nine rebounds and 10 assists, while Gordon and Jamal Murray had 30 and 25 points respectively.
The ‘Splash Brothers’ pairing of Curry and Klay Thompson combined for 54 points to lead the way for Golden State, but it was not enough to get the Dubs over the line in what is proving to be a disappointing season. The Warriors are still awaiting the return of Draymond Green from suspension and fall to 16-18 after the loss.
Meanwhile, the Nuggets are 25-11 and occupy the third seed in the Western Conference.
Bucks edge past Spurs as Giannis battles Wemby
Two of the NBA’s biggest names faced off on Thursday as Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks took down birthday boy Victor Wembanyama and the San Antonio Spurs.
Much of the attention pre-game was devoted to the duel between the two-time MVP and the 2023 No. 1 overall pick – and the matchup lived up to the hype.
Antetokounmpo scored 44 points, grabbed 14 rebounds and dished out seven assists as the Bucks came away with the 125-121 victory. Damian Lillard also added 25 points and 10 assists.
Spurs guard Devin Vassell led the way for San Antonio with 34 points, while ‘Wemby’ had 27 points and nine rebounds, producing an incredible highlight reel on the night.
A behind-the-back bucket, a self-alley-oop and a crunch time block – one of his five on the night – on Antetokounmpo were just some of the best moments for Wembanyama on his 20th birthday.
Wembanyama denies Antetokounmpo at the rim. Michael Gonzales/NBAE/Getty Images
However, the Frenchman’s rookie season is not going the way he would have hoped as the Spurs fall to a miserable 5-29 record, last in the Western Conference. Conversely, the Bucks are now 25-10, two games behind first in the East, as they seek their second NBA championship in four years.