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Nikola Jokic gets hot with career-best half for Nuggets vs. Hawks

Nikola Jokic, Nuggets

In the first half of Monday’s duel between the Denver Nuggets and Atlanta Hawks, Nikola Jokic dropped a career-best half with 27 points.

Jokic was waxing hot in the first half., with every shot he heaved seemingly bound to swish the net.

The Nuggets entered the game with a 24-11 record for second place in the West, having won seven of their last 10 games. At this point in the season, it’s safe to assume that the Mike Malone-led squad is off to another postseason appearance. The question now is whether or not they will snag that elusive title or not.

In the Nuggets’ rise into a legitimate title contender, Nikola Jokic has been the foremost important piece. In the 2019-20 season, he’s averaging 18.1 points, 9.8 rebounds, and 6.4 assists. In the month of December, Jokic put up 20.8 points and 7.4 assists — major improvements from his numbers in November and late October.

Fans and analysts took his December performance as a sign of good things to come. After all, Jokic was in the MVP race last season. But his slow start in the 2019-20 season worried the fans, especially after seeing him put up 25.1 points, 13.0 rebounds and 8.4 assists per game in the 2019 playoffs.

In an interview with ESPN in December, Jokic — who is usually deadpan and verging or sarcastic in interviews — finally addressed the concerns of critics and fans with regard to his slow start.

“I showed myself I can play at a completely [higher] level, especially in the playoffs,” Jokic said. “But I think I need to get back to that level.”

Nuggets fans need not worry. Jokic is entering into mid-season form slowly and surely.