Rich Pedroncelli/Associated Press
Nikola Jokic added another accomplishment to his MVP resume this season, dropping a career-high 50 points to go with 12 assists and eight rebounds, though his Denver Nuggets lost to the Sacramento Kings 119-114 Saturday.
That doesn’t make the Serbian’s performance any less noteworthy.
Jokic went 20-of-33 from the field with a trio of three-pointers. He also shot a perfect 7-of-7 from the free-throw line. No other Nuggets player had more than 14 points.
Before Saturday’s offensive outburst, Jokic hadn’t scored more than 47 points. That came during Denver’s last victory two games prior when the Nuggets beat the Utah Jazz 128-117. Still, Denver has lost three of its last four and finds itself 12-10 and 5.5 games back of Utah in the Northwest Division.
Jokic did the majority of his work against the Kings in the paint, taking advantage of matchups against Marvin Bagley III, Richaun Holmes and Hassan Whiteside. The big man drained 16 of his buckets in the painted area and freely found a man to kick to when he didn’t have a shot.
Over his last five games, Jokic is averaging 33.2 points per game.
As the MVP race heats up between Jokic, Joel Embiid, LeBron James and Kevin Durant, the Nuggets star may have put himself in the lead with Saturday’s performance.