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We take a look at Nikola Jokic's top 10 greatest games
Nikola Jokic of the Denver Nuggets reacts after scoring. Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images via AFP.

The Denver Nuggets remain heavily favored over the Miami Heat in our latest NBA Finals odds, thanks in large part to the incredible exploits of all-world center Nikola Jokic. With the affable Serbian the clear No. 1 option in the NBA Finals MVP odds race, we examine the 10 greatest single-game performances of his career.

What's more incredible: The fact that Jokic casually dropped a 32-point, 21-rebound, 10-assist masterpiece on the flummoxed Heat in Game 3 of the NBA Finals – or the fact that Wednesday's incredible performance doesn't even rank inside his top 60 all-time?

Jokic has been instrumental in carrying the Nuggets to a 2-1 series lead over Miami, in search of the first NBA title in franchise history. The 28-year-old is averaging an incredible 30.5 points, 13.4 rebounds, and 10.1 assists through his first 18 playoff games of 2023.

Here's a look at the NBA Finals MVP odds, courtesy DraftKings, FanDuel, and BetMGM:

Nikola Jokic-750-1150 ❄️-625 🔥
Jimmy Butler+700 ❄️+1400 🔥+1000
Jamal Murray+1800 ❄️+5000 🔥+2000
Bam Adebayo+1800 🔥+1400 +1400
Gabe Vincent+10000 ❄️+49000 🔥+15000

(odds updated Thursday, June 8 at 8:20 a.m. ET)

Here's a breakdown of his 10 greatest single-game performances, ranked by Game Score (a metric John Hollinger created, and which is featured prominently on Basketball Reference). Also, check out LeBron James' Top 10 Greatest Games and Carmelo Anthony's Top 10 Greatest Games.

10. Nuggets vs. Suns (Dec. 25, 2022)


Just how awesome do you have to be to drop a 40-15-15 triple-double on a team and have that performance barely crack your all-time personal top-10? For context, Jokic is one of only three players to ever reach those milestones in the same game, joining Oscar Robertson (who did it twice) and James Harden on a very special Denver Christmas.

The Nuggets needed every one of those contributions, too, as they pulled out a 128-125 OT victory over the rival Suns. Teammate Aaron Gordon, who has had a front-row seat for most of the performances on this list, said what we were all thinking afterward.

"Sick," he told reporters. "Those are video game numbers."

9. Nuggets vs. Jazz (Jan. 31, 2021)

Nikola Jokic #15 of the Denver Nuggets goes to the basket against Joe Ingles #2, Jordan Clarkson #00 and Rudy Gobert #27 of the Utah Jazz on Jan. 31, 2021. Matthew Stockman/Getty Images/AFP

It sure looked like Jokic would put up a 50-burger for the first time in his career, heading into the half with 33. But with the game out of reach down the stretch, Jokic headed to the bench just three points shy of the mark in a game the Nuggets won 128-117 over a Jazz team that entered the night on an 11-game winning streak.

Then-teammate Will Barton was a little disappointed after the game that Joker didn't get to 50: "He don't care about that kind of stuff. He's just playing basketball ... being who he is. (But) we definitely wanted the big fella to get 5-0."

Luckily for Barton and the rest of his teammates, they wouldn't have to wait long for Jokic to reach the milestone. More on that later.

8. Nuggets at Suns (May 7, 2023)


If you've watched Jokic so far in the 2023 postseason, it won't come as any surprise to see a game from the Nuggets' current playoff run make this list. Jokic was positively red-hot in Game 4 of the Western Conference semifinals, scoring a career-best 53 points while still dishing out double-digit assists in a 129-124 loss to those pesky Suns.

And yet, scoring 50+ for just the second time in his NBA career didn't make nearly the same number of headlines as this brief but entertaining tete-a-tete with Suns owner Mat Ishbia:

Jokic was given a technical but wasn't suspended for the altercation; had he been, it likely would have impacted the entire trajectory of the NBA playoffs. Calm down, big guy!

7. Nuggets vs. Wizards (Dec. 14, 2022)


Barton was on the other side of the court for this game – and while he was probably relieved his old friend didn't hit the 50-point plateau, it didn't matter much as the Nuggets still came away with a 141-128 triumph over the Wizards.

The absence of Washington big man Kristaps Porzingis gave the Wizards absolutely no shot at containing Jokic, who connected on 17 of 20 shot attempts while finishing just two assists shy of a triple-double – and one of his eight dimes was the dictionary definition of highlight reel:

Let's see Joel Embiid do that. (Don't @ me.)

6. Nuggets at Hawks (Jan. 6, 2020)


Even when Jokic isn't racking up triple-doubles, he finds ways to make history. This particular performance saw the 7-footer become just the third center since turnovers were first tracked in 1977-78 to score 45+ points without a TO, joining Shaquille O'Neal and Moses Malone.

This was also a then-career high in points for Jokic, who added two steals and a block while knocking down four of the team's nine 3-pointers on the night. And yet, despite his massive role in Denver's 123-115 triumph, he finished with a plus-minus of zero, which tells you pretty much everything you need to know about the plus-minus stat.

5. Nuggets vs. Suns (Oct. 20, 2018)


In addition to being one of the most dominant big men of a generation, Jokic is also an All-Star teammate. Just look at his post-game tone following one of the most efficient performances in history; Jokic's main concern was an injury to Barton, who injured his right hip and didn't return.

"We're going to miss him – a lot," Jokic told reporters in the moments following Denver's 119-91 drubbing of the Suns. "Not just on the court, (but) vocally."

Jokic might not have felt like tooting his own horn that night, but I'm more than happy to oblige. He joined Wilt Chamberlain as the only players in history to rack up 30+ points in a triple-double without missing a shot from the field. He did miss a free throw, though, so ... not perfect.

Check out our NBA Finals odds and NBA Finals MVP odds.

4. Nuggets vs. Clippers (Feb. 26, 2023)


This is the only game listed inside the top-5 that didn't feature at least three Jokic 3-pointers – but check out the clips above, and you'll see why he didn't need them. Using a wide array of soft-touch floaters, deft dribble-drives, and spin moves that would make Baryshnikov blush, this was one of his most artistic performances of the season as Denver prevailed 134-124 in OT.

At one point in the fourth quarter, with the game still in doubt, Jokic took the ball at the free-throw line, dribbled to the right edge of the key, drew a pair of help defenders, then turned and hit a picture-perfect fadeaway over a helpless Mason Plumlee. The broadcaster's reaction: "What are you supposed to do there?" The Clippers are still wondering the same thing.

3. Nuggets at Kings (Feb. 6, 2021)


They can't all be Ws, unfortunately.

Despite finally reaching the 50-point plateau for the first time in his career, it wasn't quite enough as Jokic's Nuggets dropped a 119-114 decision to Sacramento. Jokic did everything he could in defeat, scoring 23 of his 50 points in the fourth quarter.

A deeper look at the numbers here gives you a small glimpse into why Jokic was an easy choice for league MVP in 2020-21. In addition to making 20 of the team's 45 field goals (the rest of the team shot just 39 percent), he also had 40 percent of the Nuggets' assists while adding three blocks and a steal and finishing with just one turnover. Unbelievable.

2. Nuggets vs. Clippers (Jan. 19, 2022)


This gem almost fizzled out before it became one of Jokic's greatest single-game showings. He was given a technical foul for yelling at an official over what he believed was a missed foul call, and had to be restrained by head coach Mike Malone after he charged toward the referee. 

Jokic stayed in the game and was dominant the rest of the way, coming within a point of equalling his career high and hitting Gordon with a perfect pass to set up the go-ahead 3-pointer with 1.9 seconds left in the 130-128 win over L.A.

Teammate Monte Morris was succinct afterwards: "When he gets in the mode, nobody in the world can stop him."

1. Nuggets vs. Pelicans (March 6, 2022)

The best performance of Jokic
Nikola Jokic #15 of the Denver Nuggets brings the ball down the court against the New Orleans Pelicans on Jan. 31. Matthew Stockman/Getty Images/AFP

This one might not stand out like Wilt Chamberlain's 100-point masterpiece or Kobe Bryant's 81-point evisceration of Toronto, but it's the greatest performance in the history of one of this era's elite bigs. And it's how Jokic landed on this stat line that might be the most impressive feat.

With the Nuggets having blown a 21-point lead and seeing Malone ejected in the waning moments of the third quarter, Jokic lifted the team on his broad shoulders, scoring a whopping 30 points in the fourth quarter and overtime.

It wouldn't be Jokic's greatest game if it didn't result in a triple-double (of course it did), and he added three steals and four blocks while missing just six of 22 attempts from the field.

In a career already filled with incredible games, this one stands tall as the best of them all.

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