In a matchup of rising stars, Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic didn’t waste any time filling up the stat sheet Thursday night.
On the road against the Milwaukee Bucks, Jokic racked up a triple double before halftime. Jokic hit the mark with 1:54 left before the break on his way to 16 points, 11 rebounds and 12 assists in the first half.
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Jokic finished with 30 points, 15 rebounds and a career-high 17 assists to lead Denver to a 134-123 win. He shot 11-of-14 from the field, including 3-of-3 from three-point range, and 5-of-5 from the free throw line.
"I just started playing well and making shots," Jokic said. "I didn’t have any extra motivation or anything like that though. I’m just playing the same way I always play. Maybe I was a little more aggressive tonight, but I’m playing the same."
It was the 10th triple-double of Jokic’s career and fifth of the season — and his second in as many games. He had 23 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists on Tuesday against the Spurs. The third-year pro entered Wednesday’s game averaging 16.7 points, 10.5 rebounds and 5.7 assists.
Milwaukee star Giannis Antetokounmpo also had a triple-double, with 36 points, 11 rebounds and 13 assists for the ninth of his career, passing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for most in team history.
As a team, Denver hit a franchise-record 24 three-pointers, one shy of the NBA mark, on the way to a third straight win. The Nuggets enter the All-Star break at 32-26 and in sixth place in the Western Conference. The Bucks head into the break in sixth in the East at 32-25.
"When you have 37 assists and you shoot that well, it’s a question of how you make all those shots," Nuggets coach Michael Malone said. "We generated great looks."
Follow Steve Gardner on Twitter @SteveAGardner. Contributing: Associated Press.
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