Bucks brace for visit from Nikola Jokic, Nuggets

Nikola Jokic will look for his 13th triple-double of the season when the Denver Nuggets visit the Milwaukee Bucks on Sunday night.

The three-time All-Star has been playing at an elite level of late, averaging 29.3 points, 13.1 rebounds and 10.5 assists over his last eight games. Jokic’s efforts have helped the Nuggets put together a four-game win streak, and a victory on Sunday would tie their longest win streak of the season.

Denver is coming off a 116-105 win over the New Orleans Pelicans on Friday night thanks to 29 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists from Jokic. Aaron Gordon posted 20 points, reserve Bryn Forbes chipped in 14 and Monte Morris finished with 13 to go along with eight rebounds and eight assists.

«The offense is definitely clicking aside from the turnovers,» Nuggets coach Mike Malone said. «I think we’re finding a rhythm. Aaron had 20 points tonight, Nikola gets another triple-double, Monte almost a triple-double, he was defensive player of the game.»

Will Barton is listed as day-to-day and could miss Sunday’s game due to a non-COVID illness. Denver is also still without Michael Porter Jr. as he recovers from back surgery and Jamal Murray is still rehabbing from ACL surgery.

Even without those key pieces, the Nuggets have had a perfect start to their six-game road trip, and Malone is hoping to continue that momentum in Milwaukee.

«We’re 3-0 to start this trip, and we know that we have three really tough games to close this trip,» Malone said. «It never gets easier and we can’t be satisfied.»

The Bucks are in the middle of a three-game homestand that started with a 123-108 win over the New York Knicks on Friday night. Milwaukee has taken four of its last five games, as well as its last four at home.

Giannis Antetokounmpo paced the Bucks with 38 points and 13 rebounds to record his 16th 30-point double-double of the season. Jrue Holiday notched 24 points and 10 assists, and Khris Middleton added 20 points.

After allowing 63 points in the first half, Milwaukee turned things around defensively and held New York to 45 points following the break.

«I think for us to be able to come back, win the third, which we haven’t done in a long time, and then kind of take over the fourth was pretty good,» Holiday said.

Grayson Allen also chipped in 15 points and seven rebounds after serving his one-game suspension for his flagrant foul on the Chicago BullsAlex Caruso. Allen said he was not surprised with the league’s decision.

«I’m not going to say I disagree with it or anything like that, you know it is what it is,» Allen said. «You just accept it and now I’m back.»

Wesley Matthews also returned after missing one game with a knee injury, but the Bucks could still be without Rodney Hood against Denver due to an Achilles injury. Brook Lopez also continues to be out after undergoing back surgery.

Sunday marks the second meeting between Milwaukee and the Nuggets this season. The Bucks earned a 120-109 win in Denver on Nov. 26 behind 24 points and 13 rebounds from Antetokounmpo.

–Field Level Media

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