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Nikola Jokić hits wild, 40-foot buzzer-beater to complete comeback, lift Nuggets past Warriors

In Sports
January 05, 2024

Nikola Jokić called game.

Jokić drilled a 40-foot shot off the glass to beat the buzzer and lift the Denver Nuggets past the Golden State Warriors 130-127 on Thursday at the Chase Center in San Francisco. Jokić’s bank shot capped a 25-4 Denver run over the final half of the fourth quarter to rally the Nuggets out of an 18-point hole and lift 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 three dribbles later, he pulled up with a last-ditch effort over Kevon Looney.

Somehow, he banked it in perfectly, sparking a wild celebration that left Stephen Curry stunned.

“Great players make great plays,” Nuggets head 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, 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, when they dropped 44 points and outscored the Nuggets by 20.

Yet slowly the Nuggets climbed out of that hole. After an Andrew Wiggins step-back 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, setting 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. The loss marked the fourth in Golden State’s past five games and dropped it to 16-18 on the season. The Warriors will host the Detroit Pistons next on Friday.

Jokić led the Nuggets with his near triple-double. He scored 34 points and had 10 assists and nine rebounds. He missed just three shots and a single free throw on the night. He has missed five shots total in the Nuggets’ past four games and has scored 92 points while shooting 39-of-44 from the field in that span.

Aaron Gordon added 30 points and nine rebounds for Denver, and Murray finished with 25 points. The Nuggets have won eight of their past nine games headed into Friday’s contest against the Orlando Magic.

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