Three things to know: Luka Doncic, Nikola Jokic put on a show
The NBA season is in full swing, and we will be here each weekday with the NBC Sports daily roundup Three Things to Know — everything you might have missed in the Association, every key moment from the night before in one place.
1) Luka Doncic, Nikola Jokic put on a show
Can we order a Dallas vs. Denver playoff series, please?
Two teams with a history of entertaining tilts — led by two of the league’s brightest young stars — were the highlight of TNT’s doubleheader Thursday (unless you count Shaq ripping Rudy Gobert because he can).
What it really became was the Luka Doncic vs. Nikola Jokic show.
Jokic started the game 2-of-11 from the field but scored 28 of his 38 points for the game in the second half and overtime, continuing to play at an MVP-level this young season. That includes calmly draining the jumper that forced overtime.
In overtime, Doncic scored 9 of his 38 points for the night, to go with his 13 rebounds and nine assists. With Michael Porter Jr. out due to coronavirus, the Nuggets lacked anyone with the size and athleticism to bother Doncic.
Doncic and the Mavs got the win and, after a slow start to the season, improved to .500 (4-4).
Josh Richardson added 15 for Dallas and he, along with Maxi Kleber, made some key plays in overtime.
Denver fell to 3-5 this young season, but they have been a bit unlucky (their point differential is that of a .500 team). Expect both of these teams to find a groove before the playoffs — where hopefully for fans everywhere they meet up.
2) Sixers entire team in quarantine in New York hotel
The NBA has only lost one game so far this season to quarantine, but the fear that one team could be hit hard and be forced to miss multiple games has hung over the NBA season like a cloud.
Enter the Philadelphia 76ers.
Guard Seth Curry played for the Sixers Wednesday night in Washington, then traveled with the team up to Brooklyn to take on the Nets. Curry was out for the Sixers’ eventual loss to the Nets due to a sore ankle but was on the bench through the first quarter when word came down that he had tested positive for the coronavirus.
Curry left the building, the Sixers finished the game, but now the entire team is in quarantine in a New York hotel while the league goes through contact tracing — players were wearing sensors during some of this time that can be tracked — and players get tested again.
Hopefully, this is not as bad as it could potentially be — this is why the league is insistent players wear their masks so much of the time around each other. The Sixers’ next game is at home Saturday night against the Denver Nuggets (who are scheduled to fly to Philadelphia Friday morning). Over the next 24 hours we will see just how many Sixers players will need to be in a longer quarantine and what this will mean to the NBA’s schedule (the second half of the NBA schedule was not released, so games could be made up if needed).
3) Andre Drummond’s Shaqtin play was maybe the best thing of the night
Cavaliers’ center Andre Drummond has a lot of skills — he is arguable the best rebounder in the league, for example — but his “face up and take a guy off the dribble” game could use a little work.
After the last couple of days around this nation, we needed to end on a lighter note.