Breaking down Nikola Jokic’s historic performance in Game 2 vs. Lakers

Jamal Murray was the savior for the Denver Nuggets in Game 2 of their first-round matchup with the Los Angeles Lakers — nailing a fadeaway mid-range jumper over Anthony Davis at the buzzer to give the Nuggets a 101-99 win — but his late-game heroics overshadowed another historic game from center Nikola Jokic.

Coming off a 32-12-7 line in Game 1, Jokic was even better against Los Angeles on Monday. He finished the night with 27 points, 20 rebounds and 10 assists — helping Denver overcome a 20-point second-half deficit to take a 2-0 lead in the series.

With his team trailing, 82-73, early in the fourth quarter, Jokic scored or assisted six of Denver’s next seven baskets to help the Nuggets chase down Los Angeles.

Jokic has the most 25-20-10 games in NBA playoff history, with Monday marking the fourth time he’s accomplished the feat over the last four postseasons. The only other players to put up those numbers in a playoff game are Wilt Chamberlain (twice), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Dave Cowens, but Jokic is the only one to do it since the NBA and ABA merged after the 1975-76 season.

Before Jokic, Cowens was the most recent player to hit these marks when he had 25 points, 21 rebounds and 10 assists for the Boston Celtics back in May 1976.

For his career, Jokic has now averaged 27.5 points, 12.2 rebounds and 7.3 assists across 70 career playoff games. Jokic is already Denver’s all-time leader in playoff points with 1,928 total, nearly 400 more than second-place Alex English.

Jokic is also the top player in league history in playoff Player Efficiency Rating (PER), which attempts to combine all a player’s contributions into one number. Jokic’s PER of 29.3 is slightly higher than Michael Jordan’s 28.6. 

Jokic also ranks third in NBA history in playoff field goal percentage (53.1%) among players with at least 1,000 career shot attempts. The only players with higher numbers over the course of their careers are Abdul-Jabbar (53.3%) and Shaquille O’Neal (56.3%).

Monday marked Jokic’s 17th playoff triple-double, he is third in NBA history in postseason triple-doubles, trailing only Magic Johnson (30) and LeBron James (28) — who had 26-12-8 in the Game 2 loss.

Before Round 1 started, Jokic was named a finalist for the NBA Most Valuable Player award for the fourth straight season. He was named MVP in both 2020-21 and 2021-22, and he finished second in voting last season behind 76ers star Joel Embiid.

If Jokic earns his third Most Valuable Player award this season, he will be the ninth player in league history to accomplish that feat. The only other players in NBA history with at least three MVPs are LeBron, Wilt, Kareem, Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Moses Malone and Bill Russell.

Denver has now won six straight postseason games and 10 games overall against Los Angeles. The Nuggets 10-game win streak over the Lakers is the fifth-longest active win streak in the NBA by a team against a single opponent.

The Nuggets will travel to Los Angeles to take on the Lakers in Game 3, which takes place Thursday night at 10 p.m. ET on TNT.

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