Nuggets ride Nikola Jokic to Northwest Division crown, seal top-3 playoff seed | VailDaily.com

Nuggets ride Nikola Jokic to Northwest Division crown, seal top-3 playoff seed

Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard, rear, looks to pass the ball as Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic, left, and guard Gary Harris defend during the second half of an NBA basketball game Friday, April 5, 2019, in Denver. The Nuggets won 119-110.
AP Photo/David Zalubowski

The prolonged wait made it that much sweeter.

All-Star Nikola Jokic tossed the Nuggets on his back, and for the first time since the 2009-2010 season, Denver can call itself Northwest Division champions.

By virtue of Friday’s 119-110 win over Portland, the Nuggets (53-26) secured the division crown and, at least, a top-3 seed in the upcoming playoffs.

“Enjoy it, division, homecourt (advantage) but we have three more games to go and then playoffs to prepare for,” Nuggets coach Michael Malone said.

The Nuggets trailed entering the fourth quarter before Jokic wrested control of the game with his bruising finishes and deft touch around the rim. He scored 10 of his 22 points in the first three-plus minutes of the quarter, while the rest of the team raised their defensive intensity. He added 13 rebounds and nine assists in another dominant showing.

“Oh, I yelled at him, I said, ‘You gotta score 10 points,’” Malone joked. “You should’ve heard it. It was a really fiery approach. It’s on me calling plays to get him the ball, but it’s him understanding what time it is. It’s time for our best player to show up and carry us.”

Read the full story via The Denver Post.