NBA

Nikola Jokic named NBA MVP after stunning Nuggets season

By Sports Desk June 08, 2021

Nikola Jokic is the NBA MVP for 2020-21 after earning 91 first-place votes and 971 total points.

Jokic had previously been confirmed as a finalist alongside Philadelphia 76ers big man Joel Embiid and Golden State Warriors superstar Stephen Curry but was long considered the clear favourite.

During a season in which a number of other superstars faced stretches on the sidelines with injuries, Jokic started all 72 games for the Denver Nuggets.

Embiid sustained a knee injury in March and Los Angeles Lakers great LeBron James went down with a high ankle sprain just eight days later.

Fitness issues robbed Brooklyn Nets guard James Harden of an unlikely run, too, while Curry saw off a tailbone concern but could only lift the Warriors to ninth in the west, as they lost consecutive play-in games to the Lakers and Memphis Grizzlies.

The Nuggets finished third and have since advanced to the Western Conference semi-finals, although they trail the Phoenix Suns after Game 1.

In the regular season, Jokic averaged 26.4 points, 10.8 rebounds and 8.3 assists per game – the combined total of 45.5 leading the NBA alongside triple-double king Russell Westbrook.

The Denver center shot 56.6 per cent from the field, 38.8 per cent from beyond the arc and 86.8 per cent from the free-throw line. No player to attempt 30 or more field goals across a season in NBA history has topped Jokic in all three metrics.

Jokic – the first MVP from Serbia – had only once previously scored more than 20 points per game in a campaign since he was selected 41st overall in the 2014 NBA Draft.

Behind the Serbian, Embiid came second with 586 points, as Curry received 453 points.

Related items

  • NBA playoffs 2021: George hails 'tough' Clippers after vital victory over Suns NBA playoffs 2021: George hails 'tough' Clippers after vital victory over Suns

    Paul George hailed the toughness of the Los Angeles Clippers as they celebrated their first ever win in the Western Conference Finals after overcoming the Phoenix Suns 106-92 in Game 3.

    Making their first foray into the Conference Finals, the Clippers slumped to a 2-0 deficit against the second-seeded Suns heading into Thursday's clash in Los Angeles.

    With Kawhi Leonard still sidelined by a knee injury, George took centre stage as he recorded a 27-point and 15-rebound double-double – which included a stunning half-court buzzer-beater in the third period.

    "This team is tough," George told ESPN. "We do whatever it takes. We trust one another. We've got each other's backs, and we just play hard.

    "If you're going to beat us, it's just got to be one of those nights if you beat us. I think we've just got great resilience.

    "Ty Lue just does a great job making adjustments, counters. We come out and we play hard.

    "We put so much into this season, we've invested so much in each other, and we're going to live with the results.

    "We'll be ready for Game 4."

    Entering the contest at Staples Center following back-to-back games on the road, George had scored at least 20 points in all 15 games this postseason.

    The latest performance saw George eclipse LeBron James' run of 15 consecutive games (in 2016) with 20-plus points in the playoffs – Kevin Durant is the only other active player to achieve the feat in the postseason (20 straight in 2012 and 21 in a row in 2018).

    The Clippers – who are the first team all-time to be down 2-0 three times in a single postseason – outscored the visiting Suns 34-21 in the third quarter to move clear.

    Reggie Jackson added 23 points for the Clippers, while Ivica Zubac (15 points and 16 rebounds) finished with a double-double of his own.

    George and Zubac became the first set of team-mates to each tally 15-plus points and 15-plus rebounds in a playoff showdown since James (28 points and 15 rebounds) and Kevin Love (15 points and 21 rebounds) in 2017.

    The starting team, which featured George, Jackson, Zubac, Patrick Beverley and Terance Mann, was Lue's fifth change of line-up across the previous eight games, with the coach reaping the rewards of earning his players' trust.

    "It means a lot just for those guys to trust me, to understand that whatever I'm doing is the best for the team, not for me," said Lue.

    "I just want to win. Making adjustments, sometimes it's tough, because adjustments mean some guys can't play, some guys play more, and you've got to be able to accept that."

  • Cubs make MLB history with no-hitter against Dodgers, Vladdy reclaims homer lead as Jays stay hot Cubs make MLB history with no-hitter against Dodgers, Vladdy reclaims homer lead as Jays stay hot

    Zach Davies, Ryan Tepera, Andrew Chafin and Craig Kimbrel combined for a no-hitter as the Chicago Cubs blanked World Series champions the Los Angeles Dodgers 4-0.

    The Cubs threw the seventh no-hitter of the 2021 season – tying a modern era record for most in a campaign – while making history of their own against the Dodgers on Thursday.

    It was the Cubs' first combined no-hitter in franchise history after Kimbrel completed the job away to the Dodgers in Los Angeles.

    Cubs starter Davies went six innings without allowing a hit, striking out four batters.

    The Cubs also became the first team in MLB history to throw a no-hitter (solo or combined) against a franchise with three former MVP winners in the starting line-up – Mookie Betts, Cody Bellinger and Albert Pujols, according to Stats Perform.

     

    Vladdy hits the front in homer race, Astros win again

    Vladimir Guerrero Jr. reclaimed the lead for the most home runs this season after helping the Toronto Blue Jays crush the Baltimore Orioles 9-0. Guerrero homered for the 24th time in 2021 – a 438-foot moonshot guiding the Blue Jays to a fifth consecutive win after Lourdes Gurriel Jr's first career grand slam.

    The Houston Astros extended their winning streak to 11 games after easing past the Detroit Tigers 12-3. During their winning streak, Houston have scored 93 runs and allowed just 24. According to Stats Perform, they are the first MLB team to score 90-plus runs while allowing less than 25 over an 11-game span since the Pirates in 1911.

    Kyle Schwarber fuelled the Washington Nationals' 7-3 victory against the Miami Marlins. Schwarber homered twice for the Nationals. It is the fourth time in his last 11 games that Schwarber had at least two home runs and four RBI. According to Stats Perform, he is the first MLB player to achieve the feat four times in an 11-game span since RBI became an official stat in 1920.

     

    Kremer crushed in Buffalo

    Dean Kremer had a game to forget against the Blue Jays. The Orioles pitcher gave up six runs, two hits and a career-high five walks in the opening inning as Baltimore suffered their 20th straight road loss.

     

    Rays in wild walk-off win

    The Tampa Bay Rays reclaimed the lead in the American League (AL) East thanks to a dramatic finish in their 1-0 walk-off victory against the Boston Red Sox. With two outs in the ninth inning, the Rays prevailed after Manuel Margot scored from third base on a wild pitch by Red Sox closer Matt Barnes.

     

    Thursday's results

    New York Yankees 8-1 Kansas City Royals
    Oakland Athletics 5-1 Texas Rangers
    Toronto Blue Jays 9-0 Baltimore Orioles
    Cincinnati Reds 5-3 Atlanta Braves
    Tampa Bay Rays 1-0 Boston Red Sox
    Houston Astros 12-3 Detroit Tigers
    Washington Nationals 7-3 Miami Marlins
    Cleveland Indians 4-1 Minnesota Twins
    Pittsburgh Pirates 8-2 St Louis Cardinals
    Chicago Cubs 4-0 Los Angeles Dodgers

     

    Yankees at Red Sox

    The blockbuster rivalry resumes as the New York Yankees (40-34) visit the Red Sox (44-31) for the series opener on Friday. Martin Perez starts for the Red Sox as the Yankees counter with Domingo German.

  • Canadiens always 'believed' after reaching first Stanley Cup Final since 1993 thanks OT win Canadiens always 'believed' after reaching first Stanley Cup Final since 1993 thanks OT win

    Artturi Lehkonen's overtime goal against the Vegas Golden Knights propelled the Montreal Canadiens to their first NHL Stanley Cup Final since 1993 on Thursday.

    The Canadiens ended their 28-year wait, punching their ticket to the NHL's showpiece thanks to Lehkonen's goal less than two minutes into OT in Game 6 of the semi-final series.

    Just like Tyler Toffoli against the Winnipeg Jets in overtime, Lehkonen scored 99 seconds into OT to oust the Golden Knights. According to Stats Perform, the Canadiens are the first team in NHL history to score two overtime goals at the exact same time in a single postseason.

    Not much was expected of the Canadiens in the NHL playoffs, having entered the postseason with the worst record but Montreal have won 11 of 13 games since sensationally overturning a 3-1 deficit against rivals the Toronto Maple Leafs in the first round.

    The Canadiens – 24-time champions as they make their NHL-leading 35th Stanley Cup Final appearance – will face either defending champions the Tampa Bay Lightning or the New York Islanders.

    "We wouldn't be here right now if we didn't believe," said Canadiens goalie Carey Price, who stopped 37 shots. "We've believed this whole time and obviously we're ecstatic and we have a lot of work left to do."

    Lehkonen added: "Just trying to go high and hit the net. We're trying to keep it going one game at a time and not think things too much far ahead.

    "I feel like we showed up today and it's a big win for us and we have four more to go."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.