Another night, another history-making performance for Nikola Jokic. The reigning two-time MVP became the sixth player to record 100 career triple-doubles on Tuesday night when he finished with 14 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists in the Denver Nuggets' wire-to-wire 133-112 win over the Houston Rockets.
"Not bad for a stat-padder," Jokic joked postgame when asked what the milestone meant to him.
It was perhaps fitting that Jokic reached the mark in understated fashion, as is his style. He barely had to break a sweat against the lowly Rockets, who have now lost 10 games in a row and have the worst record in the league at 13-48. If Jokic had wanted to, he could have put up some massive numbers, just as Damian Lillard did with his 71-point night against the Rockets over the weekend.
Instead, Jokic spent most of his 28 minutes on cruise control, and didn't even check in during the fourth quarter. He only took 11 shots on the night, and four of them came on one sequence where he kept missing tip-ins before finally getting one to go. Those three tip-in attempts were three of his four misses, as he otherwise scored with ease. His assists, likewise, were often as basic as it gets.
Check out this one to Jamal Murray to get a sense for what was happening in this game.
But while this wasn't some spectacular Jokic performance, the milestone is a testament to his growing legacy. The only players with more triple-doubles than Jokic are Russell Westbrook (198), Oscar Robertson (181), Magic Johnson (138), Jason Kidd (107) and LeBron James (106). His current pace, the 28-year-old Jokic could very well move up the leaderboard this season and will likely be sitting atop the category within the next few years.
At 24.6 points, 11.7 rebounds and 10 assists per game this campaign, Jokic is on pace to join Westbrook and Robertson as the only players in NBA history to average a triple-double for an entire season. With the Nuggets' win on Tuesday, they are now 24-0 this season when Jokic records a triple-double.
Those stats, combined with the fact that the Nuggets are 44-19, which is the best record in the Western Conference and third-best record in the league, have Jokic in line to win a third consecutive MVP award. The only other players to do that are Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain and Larry Bird.