Just when we think we have seen it all from Denver Nuggets center and two-time reigning league MVP Nikola Jokic, he puts together a dominant streak of five triple-doubles in six games, including three straight, to surge into the MVP betting lead at Caesars Sportsbook. He's now priced -110. However, Jokic is in danger of missing his fifth game this season on Friday. He has been downgraded to questionable against Indiana, which went from +11.5 to +8.5 with that possibility.
Jokic is apparently dealing with left hamstring tightness and that's obviously not something the Western Conference-leading Nuggets are going to mess around with. This might be their best chance in many years to finally win an NBA title. They are currently +700 third favorites. This writer would thus expect Jokic to sit. He's averaging 25.1 points per game on 62.6% shooting, 11.0 rebounds and 9.9 assists.
In Wednesday's 122-118 comeback win over Minnesota, the Nuggets' eighth straight victory, he led Denver in points, rebounds and assists for the 98th career time in a game. That tied Russell Westbrook for the second-most instances all-time. Only LeBron James has done it more with 152. Jokic also passed Alex English for most assists in Nuggets franchise history with 3,680. He's a center!
The Nuggets have won 13 straight games in which Jokic has recorded a triple-double. The only game in his past six in which Jokic didn't have one? He finished an assist short on Jan. 11 in Phoenix when he only played 28 minutes in a blowout win.
Needless to say, all Nuggets individual props are off the board for now tonight. They are 2-2 in the games Jokic has missed and lost the only one at home (to the Knicks). Denver is also listing Jamal Murray as probable and Jeff Green and Vlatko Cancar as questionable.
Indiana enters on a season-high five-game skid and badly misses its best player, point guard Tyrese Haliburton. He hasn't played since Jan. 11 because of injuries and won't return on Friday. He leads the NBA in assists at 10.2 per game (Jokic is second) and puts up 20.2 PPG. Haliburton's 22 points/assists double-doubles also lead the league.
Denver won its third straight in the series on Nov. 9 in Indianapolis, 122-119. Limited by foul trouble, Jokic scored 24 points in 21 minutes and helped the Nuggets overcome an 18-point deficit in the second half. Indiana had a chance to force overtime at the buzzer but Myles Turner's three-pointer was off the mark. Haliburton had 21 points and 11 assists.
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