Nikola Jokic responds to Trae Young nutmeg with career-high 47 points

Jason Owens

Early in Monday’s game against the Denver Nuggets, Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young made the highlight reels at Nikola Jokic’s expense.

When Jokic switched to Young on a pick-and-roll on the perimeter, Young delivered a perfect pass between Jokic’s legs to set up Alex Len for an and-one layup.

This is what’s commonly known as a nutmeg, parlance borrowed from the soccer world that designates the victim of said between-the-legs pass as a subject of embarrassment.

Jokic goes off

Jokic responded with the best scoring game of his career. The 2018 All-NBA center proceeded to drop 47 points along with eight rebounds, five assists and zero turnovers in a 123-115 victory. His previous career high was 43 points in a playoff game last season against the San Antonio Spurs.

It was an efficient effort that saw Jokic shoot 16-of-25 from the floor.

He wasn’t just racking up stats in a blowout over an inferior team. The Hawks gave the Nuggets a game in Atlanta, taking a 31-29 first-quarter lead and keeping things close until the game’s late stages.

Nikola Jokic posted a career high after ending up on the wrong end of a highlight reel. (Brett Davis/Reuters)
Nikola Jokic posted a career high after ending up on the wrong end of a highlight reel. (Brett Davis/Reuters)

The win staved off a mini-slump for the Nuggets, who risked racking up a third loss in the fourth game of a five-game road trip. The Nuggets lost to the Houston Rockets on Tuesday and Washington Wizards on Saturday.

Instead of logging a bad loss against the Hawks, the Nuggets enter Wednesday’s game at the Dallas Mavericks with a 2-2 split on their road trip.

Welcome aggression from Jokic

The scoring outburst was a welcome sight for Nuggets fans, who have seen Jokic’s scoring dip from 20.1 points per game in 2018 to 18.1 points this season. A more aggressive Jokic is generally good news for the Nuggets’ chances.

Denver improves to 25-11 with the win to remain in second place in the Western Conference while the Hawks drop to 8-29.

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