by Hunter Dawkins, Publisher

Despite the belief that basketball is shifting to a shooter only style game, 7 foot All-Star and reigning National Basketball Association (NBA) Most Valuable Player; Nikola Jokić, will show you something else.  The Denver Nuggets all-around player singlehandedly outlasted the pesky New Orleans Pelicans for a 120-114 overtime win at the Smoothie King Center Wednesday night.

Jokić posted a season-high 39 points, converting 17-of-23 from the floor. He added 11 rebounds and 11 assists, giving him a triple-double. In the overtime, he scored 11 of the team’s 15 points.

“Yeah, credit to the Nuggets. They came in and they did what they needed to do to win the game, but this was a game that we
played extremely well across the board,” stated the New Orleans Pelicans Head Coach Willie Green. “Jokić is a great player and the things that we saw he was capable of, he did it tonight, but I thought our guys fought and competed. We played hard. We did alot to win the game. We just came up short down the stretch.”

The battle of the night was between Jokic and Pelicans Center Jonas Valančiūnas, who put together quite a show.  Lithuanian-born Valančiūnas finished with a team-high 27 points, shooting 12-of-21 (.571) from the floor and 1-of-2 (.500) from three-point range. He added 11 boards, three assists and three blocks, which led him to his 20th double-double of the season.

Even with the high scoring big men, nine other players finished in double digit scoring; including Pelicans Small Forward Herbert Jones, who notched a career-high 19 points, converting 8-of-11 (.727) from the field and 3-of-4 (.750) from the charity stipe.

Additionally, there were 10 lead changes and five times the game was tied and Denver’s biggest lead was 12, while the
Pelicans biggest lead was only five.

To start the game, the Nuggets went on an 11-3 run that lasted until the 9:28 mark of the first quarter. The Pelicans retaliated
with a 15-7 run that helped them tie the game at 18 apiece.

New Orleans closed the first quarter on an 11-2 run, which lead to the Pelicans trailing 33-35 after one frame.

Then, the Nuggets went on a 13-3 run that extended their lead 52-41 where the Pelicans could only close the gap slightly before the half at 64-57 Denver lead.

After the Nuggets scored the first bucket of the second half, New Orleans went on a 12-0 run, which helped the Pelicans
take a 69-66 lead with 8:32 left to go in the third period.  Ultimately, the period ended 80-77.

With the Pelicans down 87-81 in the fourth quarter, New Orleans went on a 14-3 run, taking the lead 95-90 with 5:07 left to
go in the game.

As New Orleans had a few mishaps towards the end of regulation, Jokić and Denver converted on a few offensive plays to send the game to overtime.

With the win tonight, Denver takes a 1-0 lead in the season series. The two teams will meet three more times this season and the Pelicans will host the Detroit Pistons Friday night at the Smoothie King Center.