Nikola Jokić called game.
Jokić drilled a wild buzzer-beater off the glass to lift the Denver Nuggets past the Golden State Warriors 130-127 on Thursday night at the Chase Center in San Francisco. Jokić’s bank shot capped a long 25-4 run over the final half of the fourth quarter to rally the Nuggets out of an 18-point hole in the period, lifting them to the improbable win.
Jokić, with the game tied and just more than three seconds left, caught an inbounds pass and broke up the court. By the time he got to the Chase Center logo just past halfcourt, he pulled up with a last-ditch effort over Kevon Looney.
Somehow, he banked it in perfectly — which sparked a wild celebration and left Stephen Curry stunned. Just watch:
“Great players make great plays,” Nuggets coach Michael Malone said. “Nikola catching the ball there and making something behind that, it’s just incredible … I’m very proud of our group for staying with it.”
For what it’s worth, however, it doesn’t sound like Jokić called bank.
“My friend, it went in,” he told Charles Barkley on TNT. “I’m happy.”
The Warriors seemed like they were going to run away with the game in the second half. They nearly did in the third quarter, where they dropped 44 points as a team in the period and outscored the Nuggets by 20 points.
Yet slowly the Nuggets climbed out of that hole. And, after an Andrew Wiggins stepback bucket just after the seven-minute mark, the Warriors’ offense all-but shut down. The Nuggets then ended the game on a 25-4 run. The only points they gave up were a pair of Curry free throws and a Trayce Jackson-Davis layup.
Jokić hit a step-back bucket with 26 seconds left in the game to tie it up. Then on the other end, with Curry trying to make a play for a buzzer-beater of his own, Jamal Murray stole a bad pass — which set up Jokić’s game winner.
Curry led the Warriors with 30 points and six assists while shooting 11-of-23 from the field in the loss. Klay Thompson added 24 points, and Jonathan Kuminga finished with 16 points. The loss marked the fourth in their last five games, and dropped them to 16-18 on the season. They’ll host the Detroit Pistons next on Friday night.
Jokić led the Nuggets with his near-triple-double. He dropped 34 points and had 10 assists and nine rebounds in the win for Denver, and he missed just three shots and a single free throw total on the night. Aaron Gordon added 30 points and nine rebounds, and Murray finished with 25 points. The Nuggets have now won eight of their last nine games headed into Friday’s contest against the Orlando Magic.