Nikola Jokic is set to return to action on Friday, when the Denver Nuggets host the New Orleans Pelicans.
The reigning NBA MVP missed Denver’s game on Wednesday, due to a right toe soreness. Jokic saw the Utah Jazz claim the 108-104 win over the Nuggets to sweep the season series.
The Serbian center is expected to be active for the game vs the Pelicans, the third between the two sides this season. The two teams faced each other last Saturday, January 29. With Nikola Jokic scoring 29 points, Denver went on to earn the 116-105 victory.
Averaging 25.9 points, 13.8 rebounds and 7.8 assists, Nikola Jokic has done his best to help Denver maintain a top six push. With star guard Jamal Murray out indefinitely, Jokic has no option but to be at his very best in every game to lead the Nuggets to the playoffs.
So far, the Serbian big man and Denver have overcome all obstacles that have come their way and are sixth in the standings (28-23). They are two games ahead of the Minnesota Timberwolves (7th, 26-25) and 0,5 games behind fifth-seeded Dallas Mavericks (29-23).
They have won four of their last six, but will seek to snap a two-game losing streak. And with Nikola Jokic in the lineup, they are perfectly capable of doing this.
*During my trip to New York last week, I had the chance to watch Nikola Jokic from the press box in the game vs the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center.
The reigning MVP was unstoppable on the floor, flirted with the triple-double (26 points, 10 rebounds, eight assists) and Denver emerged victorious (124-118). Especially offensively, Jokic was making the difference with his scoring and passing skills.
Denver head coach Mike Malone relies on Nikola Jokic to lead the team to the playoffs. And with 31 games remaining, the Serbian center has his sights set on reaching another postseason.
Denver coaching staff knows, though, that Nikola Jokic can’t lead the team to a deep playoff run all by himself. And the return of Jamal Murray will be of vital importance.
The star guard could return in the last games of the regular season (early April) to find his rhythm and get ready for the playoffs. Although the team will take no risk, his return could put the Nuggets back to the title picture.
For the time being, Denver focuses on the game vs the Pelicans on Friday night. And with Nikola Jokic back healthy, the Nuggets can come a step closer to the direct qualification for the playoffs.
*What a great experience it was to cover my first NBA regular season games onsite. With the NBA and respective teams offering the best working conditions for journalists, it was a pleasure to cover all the action from the press box. Hopefully, more onsite regular season and playoff coverage will come soon.