Two days ago, the Denver Nuggets were down by 21 points in the fourth quarter against the Philadelphia 76ers, but stormed back for a stunning victory thanks to a wild, fadeaway jumper by Nikola Jokic in the closing seconds. On Sunday afternoon, they faced a reverse scenario, blowing a 16-point fourth quarter lead to the Minnesota Timberwolves. But once again, Jokic saved the day with a ridiculous fadeaway jumper to win the game, this time in overtime.
With 6:43 left in the fourth quarter on Sunday, Will Barton drained a 3-pointer to put the Nuggets up, 90-74. It seemed they were well on their way to an easy victory in the matinee matchup. Instead, they went scoreless over the rest of regulation, missing all nine of their shot attempts in that time. The Timberwolves tied things up thanks to a Karl-Anthony Towns three with less than a minute to play, and sent the game to overtime.
After a Robert Covington layup with 26.2 seconds to go in the extra frame, the game was once again all square. That’s when Jokic went to work. Driving to the basket against Towns, Jokic faked a spin towards the middle of the floor, then spun back towards the baseline over his right shoulder. Fading away on one foot to create enough space to get the shot off over the outstretched arms of Towns, he lofted the high-arcing jumper up, up and in.
This is just a ridiculous shot — seriously, it went so high that it was out of the frame for a split second — but at this point it’s exactly the type of play we’ve come to expect from Jokic. He is truly one-of-a-kind, playing the game at his own pace, and with a style all his own.
He actually didn’t have a great game on Sunday, finishing just 9-of-23 from the field for 20 points, and has had a bit of a strange season so far. His numbers are down across the board, and he’s looked uninterested at times. But if he’s going to keep making shots like this, and keep leading Nuggets to wins, you can live with the funk.
Even as he and the team have struggled through some tough performances the first few weeks, they’re 7-2, just half a game behind the Lakers for the best record in the West.