Nikola Jokic made the MVP statement after Denver’s 123-11 win over Boston in a big battle between two NBA conference leaders.

With the Nuggets leading 110-97 with 6:43 in the fourth quarter, Celtics star Robert Williams III hit a monster alley-oop jam and hung over the rim.

A crew of six took out a set of ladders, made a series of phone calls, and finally reached the backboard in a lengthy delay in which television cameras clung to the “bubble” of a spirit level placed on the rim. I twisted the rim off.

The players played rock-paper-scissors with the fans courtside, enjoyed their break, and warmed up once the problem was finally resolved.

Monday, January 2

Monday 2nd January

But the Nuggets’ momentum wasn’t stopped by a lengthy pause, as Jokic won the big with a triple-double of 30 points, 12 rebounds and 12 assists.

Jokic shot 10-of-13 from the floor, including both 3-point attempts, and went 8-8 from the free-throw line for his ninth triple-double of the season. .

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The two-time NBA Most Valuable Player has won 10 games in the past 12 years, leading the Nuggets to a 24-12 record and breaking Boston’s four-game winning streak along the way.

No player has won three consecutive MVPs since Celtics great Larry Bird (1984-86).

But Nuggets coach Michael Malone declared before the game that the unstoppable Jokic should not be ruled out.

“If the reason people don’t give him MVP is because he won two championships in a row, it’s laziness,” Malone said.

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“We’re playing a good brand of basketball,” said Denver’s Andrew Gordon, who scored 18 points on Joe Kitsch’s alley-oop, including a sensational reverse dunk, six rebounds and seven assists.

“It’s about dealing with business. We’ve finished dealing. It’s not about other teams. It’s about the standards we hold to. Tonight, we held to those standards.”

Denver, 14-3 at home, defeated the Celtics for the first time since November 2019.

Bruce Brown added 21 points for Denver and Michael Porter Jr. added 19 points. Jaylen Brown led Boston with 30 points and he had eight rebounds, while Jayson Tatum contributed 25 points, seven rebounds and six points to his conference-leading Celtics. An NBA record of 26 wins and 11 losses.

Gordon defended the Boston star all night long.

“They are special players,” Gordon said. “You try to make them difficult.

Morant’s class act after the big game

Ja Morant had 35 points and New Zealand center Steven Adams had 11 points and 23 rebounds as the hosts Memphis Grizzlies beat Sacramento 118-108.

“We stepped up and got results,” Morant said, recording eight rebounds and five assists.

DeAaron Fox led the Kings (19-16) with 19 points and Domantas Sabonis added 18 points and 14 rebounds.

The Grizzlies improved to 23-13, one game behind Denver and tied with New Orleans for second place in the West.

Then Morant kicked off the year of the young fan by gifting him a pair of autographed game-worn sneakers (not yet in stores).

Morant later said he noticed the kid during warm-ups and heard him yelling and cheering at every shot as he prepared for the game.

“I knew he was a big fan… When someone sees your big fan, I’m speechless to hold my head up and cry. Seeing his mom crying too It was even crazier, and I know it was a moment that touched both of them and will never be forgotten.”

Japan star explodes off the bench

Japan’s Rui Hachimura came off the bench and scored a game-high 26 points to lead the Washington Wizards to a 118-95 victory over Milwaukee.

Latvian center Kristaps Porzingis added 22 points while Kyle Kuzma had 10 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists for his second career triple-double (17-21).

Despite the absence of star guard Bradley Beal, Washington’s winning streak extended to five games.

The Bucks, 23-13, were led by Bobby Portis with 19 points and 10 rebounds, while Greek star Giannis Antetokounmpo was sidelined with a sore left knee.

Hero the hero calls the game! | | 00:42

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