NBA Basketball

97
Final 1 2 3 4 Tot
New York 12 31 26 28 97
Denver 34 30 25 24 113
113
6:00 PM PT7:00 PM MT8:00 PM CT9:00 PM ET1:00 GMT9:00 6:00 PM MST8:00 PM EST5:00 UAE (+1)02:0021:00 ET7:00 PM CT0:00 , May 5, 2021
Ball Arena, Denver, Colorado  Attendance: 4,038

Nuggets' Nikola Jokic looks to boost MVP hopes vs. Knicks

According to STATS
According to STATS

New York Knicks at Denver Nuggets

  1. The Nuggets have won their last 12 home games against the Knicks, which is their second longest current home winning streak against one opponent (13 vs. Bulls). It's the Knicks longest current road losing streak against one opponent.
  2. The Nuggets lost their last game, 93-89, against the Lakers on Monday. The only game this season in which Denver scored fewer than 89 points was its 105-87 loss to Boston on April 11.
  3. The Knicks (11-0), Mavericks (16-0), and Cavaliers (8-0) are the only NBA teams that are undefeated when scoring 120 or more points this season. And at 3-3, the Knicks are the only NBA team without a losing record when allowing 120+ points.
  4. Nikola Jokic is 10-1 in 11 games against the Knicks, and he's had at least 10 rebounds in each of his last five games against them.
  5. Derrick Rose has averaged 19.0 points per game in his last seven contests while making 60.7 percent of his shots, including over 70 percent in each of his last two games.
  6. Facundo Campazzo had five steals against the Lakers on Monday, the highest total by a Nuggets rookie in one game since Jokic had five on January 30, 2016.

Arguably the favorite for NBA's Most Valuable Player award will face off against a surprise contender for the honor Wednesday night when the New York Knicks visit the Denver Nuggets.

Nikola Jokic is making a push for league MVP, trying to become the first Denver player to accomplish the feat.

Jokic leads the team in points (26.3 per game), rebounds (10.9), assists (8.5) and steals (1.4). He has also carried the Nuggets (43-22) through devastating injuries to sit near the top of the Western Conference standings.

One of the players making a late case for MVP is New York's Julius Randle. In the midst of his first All-Star campaign, he has comparable averages -- 24.2 points, 10.3 rebounds and 5.9 assists per game -- and has played the most minutes in the league this season. Second on that list is Jokic.

Randle has led the Knicks on a rousing stretch to vault themselves up the Eastern Conference standings. New York (37-28) has won 12 of its past 13 games to leap into the fourth playoff position on the conference, in large part due to Randle's play. He is averaging 31 points in the past 11 contests.

"People don't understand how tough it is to play in New York, and he's bringing a winning mentality back to the Knicks," teammate Taj Gibson said. "You got to give him his credit. Julius has earned his credit for being in the MVP race. He deserves it."

Jokic has taken on even more responsibility since Denver guard Jamal Murray was lost for the season with a torn ACL in his left knee 11 games ago, and the injury list keeps growing. During the Nuggets' 93-89 road loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Monday, Denver guard PJ Dozier left late in the game with a right adductor strain.

He grabbed at his inner thigh after going down to the court and had to be helped off. Dozier's injury further depletes Denver's backcourt, as Monte Morris and Will Barton are still out due to right hamstring injuries.

"I don't know if this team is cursed," Nuggets coach Michael Malone said after the game. "We've got to bring in some kind of high priest to rid the team of any bad omens."

Dozier underwent an MRI exam Tuesday and was ruled out for Wednesday.

Malone said Monday night that Morris is close to returning and should be back in the "next couple of games."

Even with the injuries, and the loss to the Lakers, Denver has clinched a top-six playoff seed in the West, meaning it will avoid having to take part in the play-in round. The Nuggets finished 13-3 in April, which was the best record in the NBA, and earned Malone coach of the month honors.

It will be tougher for Denver to continue that run of success over the last seven games of the regular season. The Nuggets' only home game after Wednesday night is against the Brooklyn Nets, and Denver plays its last four games on the road.

A win against New York would give Denver the season sweep. The Nuggets won the first meeting, 114-89, at Madison Square Garden on Jan. 10 despite 29 points and 10 rebounds from Randle. Jokic had 22 points and 10 rebounds in that game.

--Field Level Media

Updated May 4, 2021

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