Young Nuggets duo Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray have had quite the successful All-Star weekend in New Orleans.
The Denver Nuggets have been well represented at the NBA’s All-Star weekend in New Orleans, with Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray flourishing under the bright lights.
Both players participated in the Rising Stars Challenge, now branded as a contest between Team World and Team USA. Murray exploded for a game-high 36 points and 11 assists to lead the World squad to a 150-141 victory over Team USA and secure the games MVP award in the process.
Fellow Nugget Nikola Jokic barely missed a tripe-double, posting 12 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists in his 21 minutes of action.
Murray entered the game at the 12 minute mark of the first half after starting on the bench. He promptly hit nailed his first shot of the game, a long three pointer from the top, before dishing a pass to Willy Hernangomez for the slam.
The Nuggets rookie finished the first half with nine points and three assists, however, it was just a precursor for what was to come.
Murray caught fire in the second half. He launched, and connected, on all sorts of shots. He made a number of catch-and-shoot three’s before going off the dribble and making baskets from way beyond the three-point line. Murray finished the game having shot 9-14 from distance as he guided Team World down the stretch.
Nikola Jokic had a number of highlight passes, finding Utah’s Dante Exum on a backdoor cut as well as Kristaps Porzingis for the slam in the open court.
By winning the games MVP award, Jamal Murray becomes the third Denver player to ever do so, behind Kenneth Faried in 2011 and Carmelo Anthony in 2005.
Nikola Jokic backed up his strong performance in the Rising Stars Challenge by taking part in the Skills Challenge on All-Star Saturday.
Jokic was matched up against fellow big man and home town hero, Anthony Davis in the first round of the Challenge. The Nuggets’ second year player was able to defeat Davis before bowing out against the eventual winner, Kristaps Porzingis of the New York Knicks.
Overall it’s been quite a successful weekend for the young Nuggets duo, one that can be used to propel them into peak form for the stretch run of the season.