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DENVER – Nikola Jokic had 40 points and a career-high 27 rebounds in another triple-double to help the Denver Nuggets beat the Charlotte Hornets 119-115 on Sunday night.

Jokic also had 10 assists for his fifth triple-double of the season and 81st overall. He is the third player in NBA history to record at least 40 points, 25 rebounds and 10 assists in a game, joining Wilt Chamberlain, who did it four times, and Elgin Baylor.

Aside from Jokic, Chamberlain is the only other player to post at least a 40-27-10 stat line, which he’s also done four times, most recently with 53 points, 32 rebounds and 14 assists for Philadelphia in March. : 18, 1968.

The others came close, but did not match the 40-27-10 line. Baylor scored 52 points, 25 rebounds and 10 assists on December 13, 1961. On January 22, 2018, DeMarcus Cousins ​​had 44 points, 23 rebounds and 10 assists. On February 26, 1972, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar had 44 points, 20 rebounds, and 11 assists, and on January 9, 1965, Oscar Robinson finished with 42 points, 21 rebounds, and 10 assists.

Jokic, who joined Dallas’ Luka Doncic as the second player with a triple-double this season with 40 points (Doncic has three), sealed Denver’s victory Sunday with two free throws with 13 seconds left.

Nuggets coach Michael Malone said he didn’t realize the numbers Jokic was putting up during the game, particularly rebounding.

“I didn’t know it was a 40-27-10 night, but I knew it was another stellar performance from Nikola Jokic, effective,” Malone said. “And it’s not just about Nikola. It’s about his ability to make each of his teammates better. Yes, Nicola is a generational talent.”

Jokic’s rebounds supercharged other aspects of his game, helping the Nuggets get defensive stops and sparking Denver’s passing game by getting teammates back with quick exit passes. But many of the rebounds also came because they were in the right place at the right time, Jokic said.

“Honestly, I think it was because of our defense and I was in the right place to get the ball back,” Jokic said. “It wasn’t like I was catching for them or anything, chasing them. It just happened, you know? Honestly, I wish it was every night.”

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope added 20 points and Aaron Gordon had 19 as the Nuggets handed the Hornets their eighth straight loss.

LaMelo Ball scored 31 points for Charlotte. Kelly Oubre Jr. scored 16 points and Gordon Hayward scored 15.

Jokic had 20 rebounds in the first half, becoming the first player to do so since Dwight Howard in 2018.

Fueled by Jokic’s 11-point third period, Denver took a three-point lead into halftime, 94-80, heading into the fourth quarter.

Charlotte fought back, however, to make it 107-104 on Ball’s fadeaway jumper with 3:29 left. The Nuggets regained the cushion when Gordon went in for a reverse layup ahead of Jokic before Jokic hit a layup on the Nuggets’ ensuing possession for a 111-104 lead with 1:57 left.

Jokic capped the drive with a triple-double that set up Bruce Brown’s 3-pointer that gave Denver an eight-point lead with 1:20 left. The 40-point triple-double was the third of Jokic’s career. The only other Nuggets player to do so is Michael Adams.

But again, Charlotte got within two on a dunk by Washington before Jokic made two free throws and Charlotte couldn’t get a shot after turning the ball over in the final minutes.

In his last three games, Jokic has combined for 108 points, 52 rebounds, 26 assists and 11 steals to become the first player with 100 points, 40 rebounds, 20 assists and 10 steals in three games since the steals became official. 1973-74

ESPN Stats & Information and The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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