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Lost in the hype of LeBron James’ home debut in Los Angeles was the unbelievable game Denver Nuggets forward Nikola Jokic had against the Phoenix Suns.
Jokic had a triple-double, which would have been a great storyline by itself, but the stats behind it were just as stunning.
The center finished a near flawless game with 35 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists. That includes missing zero field goals, going 11-for-11, and having zero turnovers in 31 minutes. He also added three steals and a block on the night.
His only blemish? One missed free throw – he finished 10-for-11 from the stripe.
His triple-double put him in rare company, one that he’s heard comparison to before. The only player to have a triple-double with more than 30 points and no missed field goals was Wilt Chamberlain.
Not the first Wilt connection
Last season, Jokic heard the first of the Chamberlain connections in the midst of a dominant stretch of games.
He had three straight triple-doubles in late February last year – the only player since Chamberlain to do so. Chamberlain did that six times though so Jokic still has a ways to go to match the NBA Hall of Famer’s record.
Nikola Jokic joins Wilt Chamberlain as the only players in NBA history 6'10" or taller to record 3 straight triple-doubles. Chamberlain had six such streaks during his career, including a 9-game stretch during 1967-68.
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) February 24, 2018
“He’s not an All-Star, he’s not in the MVP conversation, but when you look at his numbers that guy should be an All-Star. He should be in the MVP conversation,” Malone told ESPN last year after Jokic’s All-Star snub.
The triple-doubles continued to pile up for Jokic, including a game where he had one in just 16 minutes, as he finished the regular season with 10.
And with that another Chamberlain comparison followed — Jokic and Chamberlain are the only centers to finish with more than seven triple-doubles in a single season.
Jokic likely only cares about helping his team win an NBA Championship like Wilt, but getting comparisons with the great this early in his career can’t be a bad sign.
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